Dozens of people gathered across the street from the Federal Building in downtown Tampa on Friday afternoon to rally against the allegations that the National Security Agency is using the Internet and other technology to spy on U.S. citizens. The building houses Sen. Bill Nelson's local district office. According to organizers Sen. Nelson voted for the establishment of the Prism program. It was revealed last week that Prism, code name for a program surreptitiously collecting information via the Internet worldwide, was being used by the NSA. Participants from several organizations including Occupy Tampa, Veterans for Peace and St. Pete for Peace showed up for the demonstration.
"There was no abortion, nothing, we didn't have any rights," Leza said Saturday in front of Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. "That woman was Gloria Steinem."
On Saturday, feminist, journalist and writer Gloria Steinem spoke against Amendment 6 — read more about the amendment here — at the I Am Choice rally at Jannus Live. More than 15 people spoke at the rally, which was attended by 400 plus people. The crowd was primarily composed of young women, with older women and men of all ages also in attendance.
"We certainly think women's issues are family issues because women primarily run their households," said Barbara Zdravecky, president of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
The Republicans are in Tampa, and so are the protesters.
On Sunday afternoon, people from various groups, backgrounds and regions gathered in Lykes Gaslight Square Park to demonstrate against the RNC. The protest culminated in a march toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Their main grievances were primarily economic. Signs and chants focused on the strife of the 99% and the business practices of Mitt Romney.
A stage and speaker system were set up in the park as activists rallied others with calls and responses, speeches, and surprisingly adept beat boxing. Despite the gray weather and light rain, there were at least two hundred people present. The organizers eventually split everyone into groups to begin a march toward the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Inclement weather forced the planned outdoor event inside. But only hours before the rally, campaign manager Ayele Hunt and her team were up late sending emails about the rally's new location. They sent personal Facebook messages and emails out. The pep rally ended up at Semeraro's Italian Cafe and Piano Bar at 1620 Central Ave. Despite the last minute change, the rally drew around 50 people.
Inside, there was a photo booth set up, taking pictures of attendees holding a sign reading "I Am Choice". Photos taken are being used in the "Voice Choice" internet campaign.
There was a table with blank posters and markers, attendees were encouraged to make signs for the campaign. Kayla, of St. Petersburg, made a sign reading "If you cut off my reproductive rights, can I cut off yours?"
"I feel like this is a slippery slope if this passes," she said. "If they pass this, they might try to pass something banning abortion in the future."
Women from every generation, old and young, and their male feminist counterparts gathered on the corner of Park Street Saturday morning. Outside Republican State Representative Larry Ahern's St. Petersburg office, about 30-40 activists held signs and chanted. Awake Pinellas organized the march as part of a national day against war on women.
"Larry Ahern is not a friend of women's rights," Dunedin attorney BJ Star said.
Star is the president of the West Pinellas National Organization for Women or NOW. She joined NOW in 1975 when she was a police officer.
"I was facing differential treatment from superior officers and the union wasn't sympathetic back then," Star said."So I went to law school so I would never have to have someone else explain the law to me. I will explain it to them now."
Felicidades to FICS!
The Florida Institute for Community Studies celebrates two milestones on Fri., April 27: its long-anticipated Grand Re-opening and the organization's 10th anniversary of helping immigrants and financially challenged families with after-school tutoring, mentoring, domestic skills, gang prevention and other crucial needs.
The Town N Country facility will open the doors to its new and improved Multicultural Family Center, which features a full-size dance room, a computer lab, restrooms, an art room and new offices.
"We've expanded our space by three times and we've maintained our office space to get our work done," FICS director Alayne Unterberger says. "The innovative design allows open space for students to dance, drum and do art while maintaining a quiet, separate area for our professional needs. Before we just had two rooms and a conference room, bifurcated by a pharmacy. That has since moved, and we leased that space so we could expand. We now have four store fronts. It has a nice flow now."
Festivities take place 4-8 p.m. The center’s Prodigy students perform their quarterly showcase, including breakdance, capoeira, drums and art. DJ Diamond Notes emcees.
Unterberger says the organization is especially excited about their Proclamation and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, taking place between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Come see why her organization earned Creative Loafing Best of the Bay honors in 2011 for being Tampa Bay's Best Multicultural Mentors.
Prize drawing includes items from sponsors such as Big Cat Rescue, The Tampa Improv, Chili’s, Starbucks, Target and Wal-Mart. Refreshments such as hot dogs, nachos, sodas and Sno Cones will be for sale.
FICS is at 6704 Hanley Road, Tampa. Call 813-249-8100.