Appleton, Wisconsin – On Saturday, September 23, students, faculty, and other members of the Fox Valley community gathered at Lawrence University’s Warch Cinema in defense of the Tampa 5. In their second stop on their national tour, Lauren Pineiro and Chrisley Carpio of the Tampa 5 spoke to the LU community. Opening with chants of ‘drop the charges now!’ and ‘fight back!’, the Tampa 5 representatives spoke in detail of their case and its repercussions to the group of 35 people. For some, it was their first time hearing of the infuriating case, where the five protesters are facing five to ten years in prison on false charges.
New York, NY - 20 activists held a solidarity rally at City Hall in Manhattan to demand that charges be dropped against the Tampa 5. The Tampa 5 are campus activists arrested for protesting the attacks on education by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The solidarity rally was part of a national day of action on July 12. On March 6, four members of Tampa Bay’s SDS and a union worker were arrested for protesting for more diversity on their University of South Florida campus. They rallied and marched against the repressive laws that DeSantis passed in Florida, specifically around the bills that target LGBTQ people, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs in higher education.
On Saturday, July 1, more than 70 students and activists gathered in downtown Chicago. They joined the nationwide campaign by Students for a Democratic Society and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression demanding that the charges on the Tampa 5 be dropped. The Tampa 5 are Gia Davila, Laura Rodriguez, Chrisley Carpio, Lauren Pineiro and Jeanie Kida. They are students and workers in Florida who were beaten and arrested, and now facing ten years in prison, for protesting DeSantis’ far-right attacks on diversity in education. The Chicago rally was called by Students for a Democratic Society and endorsed by a dozen other organizations.
Tampa, Florida – Florida state prosecutor Justin Diaz it trying to put the Tampa 5 in prison. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) members, arrested at a campus protest against the racist agenda of Governor Ron DeSantis, each face a trumped-up felony charge, alleging “battery on a police officer,” carrying five years of jail time. When the activists rejected a plea deal requiring them to apologize for doing the right thing, the prosecutor added on more felony charges. This means that three of the activists are facing more than ten years behind bars. In addition, the activists face ten misdemeanor charges.