By Mira Altobell-Resendez |
March 10, 2023
Minneapolis, MN – 20 people gathered at a busy Dinkytown intersection for a rally organized by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota to show solidarity with the Tampa 4 and demand that all charges against them be dropped.
The Tampa 4 are young organizers who were brutalized and arrested by University of South Florida police officers during a protest hosted by Tampa Bay SDS calling for protections for diversity programs and increased Black enrollment at their university.
Videos of the incident have amassed thousands of views across different social media and news platforms. The four protesters who were arrested – Gia Davila, Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez and Jeanie Kida – are each facing bogus felony charges as well as two or three misdemeanors.
Between speeches, UMN SDS members chanted and handed out fliers to passersby, urging them to join them in a call-in to Florida State Attorney Susan Lopez to demand that all charges against the Tampa 4 be dropped immediately.
Former SDS member and current Minnesota Abortion Action Committee member Olivia Crull pointed out the broader message that these arrests communicate, stating, “These students were right to chant and to yell and take up space so that they and their fellow students could have access to the education that they deserve. And for that, they were brutalized. This was an attack on the fundamental right to protest.” Crull concluded that this event points to the growing trend of political repression that is coupled with attacks on diversity programs and the teaching of Black history at schools in Florida and beyond.
The rally closed out with the promise of continued solidarity with Tampa Bay SDS as they navigate their members’ charges, as well as the assertion that defending diversity is not a crime.
Other supporting organizations were Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Anti-War Committee.
To stay up to date on the case of the Tampa 4, follow @tampabaysds and @nationalsds/@newsds on Instagram and Twitter.