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Tampa holds May Day rally to demand #Not1More!

By staff |
May 2, 2015
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Tampa May Day protest demands no deportations for the undocumented
Tampa May Day protest demands no deportations for the undocumented (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tampa, FL - More than 50 people gathered outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Ybor, a Tampa neighborhood, May 1. Uniting on International Workers' Day, community members, workers, immigrants and students demanded not one more deportation. The Department of Homeland Security and the Tampa Police Department showed up in armored vehicles and took to the streets on bicycles in an attempt to intimidate the activists.

George Nasser of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression-Tampa (CSFR) said during his speech, "The change we strive for will never come from the ballot box; it will never result from empty reforms or endless dialogue; it will come when we take to the streets."

The rally was emceed by Alicia Gazga and Alekos Zambrano, both members of Raíces in Tampa. The rally in front of the ICE office was organized by Raíces en Tampa, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA), Florida Peace Action Network, Block the Boat Tampa, Casa Chiapas Tampa, and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression-Tampa.

Zambrano said, "Raíces en Tampa supports the people fighting back. From Arizona against anti-immigrants laws enforced by people like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to the people of Baltimore fighting back against the murder of Freddie Gray, on of their own!"

After hearing from speakers, the activists took to the streets of Ybor and marched around the ICE office. Some of the chants were, "Up, up! With liberation! Down, down with deportation!" "Se ve, se ciente, el pueblo esta presente!" and "From Tampa, to Baltimore, not one more!"

"I had never attended a May Day rally before," said Roman Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant from Tampa. "I led a few chants during the march.”

Students from the University of South Florida provided transportation to the rally for the undocumented community of Tampa from the central location of La Mexicana, predominantly Mexican store.

Claudia Hernandez, who is undocumented, was one of the community members who accepted a ride from a student. The police presence made her uncomfortable and she approached the organizers of the event to ask if more people could escort her and her three young children to and from the student's car. "I don't want them to follow us and then try to do something to my family and I," said Hernandez. "We aren't doing anything bad. We're demanding a stop to the deportations. The same deportations that they help make possible, here in Tampa."

Marisol Marquez of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), said, "Today, we also remember all the fighters before us like those in Ferguson, like those in Sanford, like those in New York, and those currently in Baltimore, we yell down with the rich and powerful. Down with killer cops of our Black sisters and brothers like Freddie Gray, Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin! Down with killer cops of our Brown sisters and brothers like Jessie Hernandez of Arizona and Antonio Zambrano of Pasco, Washington. Down with those who cannot accept that we, the people, the poor, the workers, the students, the immigrants have come out to the streets today to stand up and fight back. May Day is our day and we celebrate it with pride, uniting all that we can around us."

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