Corey Uhl is with Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society. He said Monday's Coalition to March on the RNC will go on regardless of the potentially inclement weather conditions.
"There will be nothing that will stop us from marching in the streets to demand good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality and peace," he said.
Uhl addressed the climate of fear regarding protesters, which the Tampa Police Department and the mainstream media have pumped up as the convention nears. On Wednesday, both Tampa Bay area dailies featured stories regarding a YouTube video from "Anonymous" that hinted at potential violence during the convention.
"The only thing we absolutely have to worry about is what the police are going to do, not what the protesters are going to," said Uhl, repeating what members of the coalition have vowed for months regarding their peaceful protest intentions.
The Coalition to March on the RNC is one of the best-organized groups to hold a protest rally during the convention. The members have strategized for months to put on their demonstration, which is scheduled for Perry Harvey Park in Tampa on Mon., Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. Participants say they'll have more than 40 speakers on hand.
The coalition includes members who organized at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, such as Mick Kelly, who told reporters that next week they'll see "an incredible outpouring of trade unionists, members of the community, students, workers and people who are sick and tired of the Republican convention."
For those who question whether the activists have the temerity to endure a potentially strong rainstorm, Kelly gave out the dimensions of the stage (4 feet high, 28-by-12 feet wide) as a testament of their sincerity.
On Tuesday, the platform committee for the Republican Party adopted a plank that says an "unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life that cannot be infringed." The platform also calls for legislation recognizing the rights of unborn children under the 14th Amendment.
That particular plank irked gay rights activist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, who said that Republicans want to "protect people before they are born and completely disregard the human rights of LGBTQ Americans living in our communities, who pay taxes, who are raised in our communities."
The Washington Post reported that the platform includes language that calls for legislation to "ban sex-selective abortion" and "to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain."
"It's incredible that they denied civil unions, but they said unborn children, before they're even born they have more rights than I do right now," Sousa-Rodriguez said.
Marisol Marquez is with Students Working for Equal Rights at USF. She is irked that controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has been invited to Tampa for the convention, though the 80-year-old law officer will not actually speak inside the conventional hall (he'll speak in Lowry Park Zoo).
"His invitation to speak at the R.N.C is a complete slap in the face to all immigrants," she said, calling Arpaio "the racist sheriff."
The Justice Department filed suit against Arpaio earlier this year, charging him and his department with systematically discriminating against Latinos.
One of the chief organizers of Monday's rally, Jared Hamil, believes his group will have as many as 5,000 protesters, by far the largest crowd anticipated for any of the previously announced rallies during the RNC.