August 18, 2023
From Fight Back News

LA protest demands justice for the Tampa 5.

LA protest demands justice for the Tampa 5.
(Fight Back! News/staff)

Los Angeles, CA – On August 9, Centro CSO, along with the Chicano Moratorium organizing committee, staged an action outside of the U.S. Marines recruitment office in East Los Angeles and joined a national call to action in solidarity with the Tampa 5. Joined with cities nationwide, 30 people gathered to protest the injustices faced by the Tampa 5, and to demand the U.S. stop funding wars overseas like in Ukraine and for Israel. 

The Tampa 5 – Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie Kida and Chrisley Carpio – are the five Students for a Democratic Society protesters at the University of South Florida who were attacked by campus police and are now facing five to ten years in prison for protesting Governor Ron DeSantis’ attacks on diversity programs and all of higher education. The National Day of Action coincided with their second court appearance before they go to trial in December. 

Elias Serna, a Chicano Studies professor at Santa Monica College spoke in solidarity with the Tampa 5. “These 5 women have power! He said, “We have 15 other cities protesting this injustice because it’s wrong!” He also opposed Ron DeSantis’ attacks on ethnic studies: “An attack on Black Studies is an attack on Chicano Studies!” 

Many forces, including Freedom Road Socialist Organization, La Raza Unida Party, Peace and Freedom Party, Union de Barrio, and United Teachers of Los Angeles, who passed a resolution to support the Tampa 5, spoke out in solidarity and denounced U.S. wars and occupations. 

Blanca Cruz from Union de Barrio spoke about recruiters preying on students at her school and knew former students who died in the military. “Hands off our students!” she said, “We stand in solidarity with the Tampa 5. We must oppose Ron DeSantis and his supporters who want to go back to a time when Black and brown people and LGBTQ people are back in the closet and shadows but we refuse to go back!”

Congress recently vowed unconditional support to Israel and President Biden sent 3000 reserves to Europe to back the war in the Ukraine. This month commemorates the long-standing tradition of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium’s origins, tied to protesting the Vietnam war and the high casualty rate of Chicanos from East LA and Boyle Heights in Vietnam.

Alex Orellana, who is a U.S. Marine veteran, spoke about his experiences serving in the military, stating, “They just send Chicanos and Black people to die in war.” Orellana continued, “Recruitment quotas are suffering because people are waking up to the fact that these murderers are gonna send their kids overseas to die.”

Follow the Tampa 5 for updates on Instagram @justicefortampa5 and follow @chicanomoratorium for the upcoming 53rd Chicano Moratorium commemoration on August 26 at Salazar Park at 4 p.m.