Tampa Bay SDS hosts Orlando shooting “speak out” at USF

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SDS logo. Photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF News.

University of South Florida students will remember the victims of the Orlando shooting with what they’re calling a “speak out” on Friday. It’s being organized by Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society. WMNF News interviewed Noah Peretz, who is in his first semester at USF and is a member of Tampa Bay SDS.

“This Friday, we are having a speak-out session, to remember the victims of the Orlando shootings. We are going to meet in front of the MSC lawn–the Marshall Student Center–at 3:30 this Friday. It’s just to give a chance, for those who want to speak, on how this event has affected them or anybody that they know, because, members of SDS have gone to other events like the one in Ybor, hosted by Metro Life. And when we got there, it was very crowded, there was a lot of people–which is good. However, they had predetermined speakers–they didn’t really open up the floor for people to speak. It was hosted by a religious group, so a lot of the speakers were religious speakers.

“So, SDS felt the need to organize their own event, so that we can get anybody to speak out, if they wanted to. And having some of SDS’s speakers and then we’re going to open up the floor for anybody who would like to speak and then after that we’re planning on chalking all the names of the victims of the shooting, on the sidewalk of campus.”

What would you say? Were you personally effected by the event? How would you answer?

“I, personally, did not know anyone who was a victim, however, I have friends who knew people. Any kind of tragedy like this is terrible, especially for those involved. A large portion of the victims were Latinx, a lot of them were Puerto Rican and I felt it was really important to stress that a very specific people were affected by this.

“I know Governor Rick Scott spoke about how this shooting affects everyone, but, it’s not so clean and clear. I think it’s really important that we realize that members of the LGBTQI+ community are directly affected by this and that we need to bring some light to the situation.

“I think it’s really important that we host these events to let members who are directly affected, speak out so they don’t have to hold these feelings in.”

Aside from the fact that there was this mass shooting in Orlando, have you experienced any biases or any hate crimes toward either the LGBTQ community or the “Latinx” community, is how you called it — which some people would know as Latino or Latina, or a broader version of that.

“Not completely. I know a lot of USF students have stood in solidarity for those who were lost in Orlando. So, I think what happened brought a lot of people closer together on the issue of homophobia, especially when it’s directly present.

“I’m sure you’re familiar with our Change the Name campaign. We are currently campaigning against Administration to change the name of the Bill Young building or otherwise known as the ROTC building, because it’s named after a homophobic congressman–a former member of the John’s Committee, who openly terrorized members of the LGBTQ+ community, all over the Florida university system, especially at USF.”

“Speak Out: Remember the Orlando Shooting” begins at 3:30 p.m. on Friday outside of the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida Tampa campus.


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