Tampa, Fla. — Students for a Democratic Society Tampa hosted a “Dump Trump” rally on Feb. 12 in front of the University of South Florida Sun Dome, where Donald Trump was given permission to host a sold-out rally promoting his racist political message.
Hundreds of USF students organized en masse to let Trump know his racist, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ message was not welcome on the USF campus. The organizers held signs at the entrance of the Sun Dome and organized chants such as “Dump Trump!” “Hey hey! Ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!” and “No more wars! No more hate! Donald Trump get out of our state!”
Various speeches were also given by groups, including Tampa Bay SDS, the Committee to Stop FBI repression, the Teamsters union and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
Activist and Tampa Bay SDS member Taina Pantoja, who spoke at the rally, stated, “We need to stand up against Donald Trump and other racist politicians’ capitalist agenda; we need to stand up against white supremacy and defend affirmative action!” Homam Nasser of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression followed this sentiment, stating that “the rally was important to countering right-wing populism on our campus, which seeks to undermine progressive and popular demands. I attended this rally because, like anyone else, I did not want USF complicity in promoting and propagating hate and violence against oppressed peoples to go unchallenged.”
Tampa Bay SDS extended the anti-racist message of the protest to all racist politicians, not just Donald Trump. This included former Florida Sen. C.W. Bill Young, whom the campus ROTC building is named after. Young was an active member of the Johns Committee, which actively persecuted homosexual students across Florida in the 1960s, including at USF, and targeted Civil Rights activists and other “subversives” who might be sympathetic to communism.
Tampa SDS activist Jack Ling spoke about this point directly: “While we protest the monstrous queer-phobia of Trump and his supporters, let us also recognize that atrocities were committed against LGBTQAI+ students and faculty on this campus that we will never be able to correct so long as a building, which university officials have regarded as the core of the university moving forward, enshrines a legacy of hatred and violence against queers on campus.” The group is currently leading a campaign to change the name of the ROTC building.