Wall of Moms Tampa will protest President Trump this week

Wall of Moms Tampa protest

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President Trump is scheduled to be in Tampa for parts of Friday and Saturday for a fundraiser. But there’s a chance that part or all of his Florida schedule will be canceled because of the approaching tropical storm.

Regardless, some anti-racism demonstrators plan on protesting the president.

Lilia Orengo-Belizaire is an organizer with Black Lives Matter Tampa. She’s helping with what’s called “Wall Of Moms Tampa,” who model themselves after some protesters in Portland.

“President Trump will be here July 31st at the Florida Fairgrounds. Our response is that he’s not welcome here. He’s created a lot of division. He created a feeling of anger and a feeling of hurt in our communities. He has used his power to divide us. He has used his power to disrespect us, and try to take away our right — our First Amendment right to assemble.

“If we look at what happened in D.C. when they were protesting up there, he brought out the tear gas and everything to walk across to get to a church. He’s blatantly disrespecting and using every power he has to try to silence us.”

Your organization for this event is called “Wall of Moms.” What does Wall of Moms mean, and where does that come from?

“So, Wall of Moms, it originated in Portland. What it is, is moms using our bodies to protect protesters. So, with the Wall of Moms, if you go read on the website, one of the first things, their goal, it’s to use their bodies and not their voices.

“Me, as a mother, I’m just going to speak as a mother. So, as a mother, we have this primal need to protect. When you become a mother, the first thing that, it’s like the ‘mama bear’ concept, right, you want to protect your child at all costs. So, we want to extend that to the protesters, specifically Black and Brown protesters, that are using their First Amendment right, and using their voice to fight against injustice.”

In Portland, though, some of the moms got tear-gassed. And some got beaten and arrested. Are you concerned that something like that might happen in Tampa?

“Yes. It’s always a possibility. But, we’re prepared for that. What we’re trying to do is to protect as many Black and Brown bodies as we can. From being an organizer of Black Lives Matter, whenever we’ve done marches or organize anything, we’re a peaceful movement. We go forward peacefully. But, even here in Tampa, we’ve seen that the police department used excessive force unneeded, tear gas, rubber bullets, so it’s always a possibility.”

If people want to find out more, where can they go? Is there someplace online (where) they can find more information?

“Yes, for Wall of Moms, there’s a website and there’s also a Twitter page. you just search Wall of Moms Tampa there was also an article that was written in Creative Loafing.”

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