After signing Florida's anti-riot bill into law, Governor DeSantis received a lot of backlash from various communities and lawmakers. Some worry that the bill is too vague, making it legal to arrest any protestor, violent or otherwise. In response, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) has organized a protest and march in Tampa for April 24, 2021.
This article looks at the new anti-rioting bill, the upcoming BLM march in Tampa, and how you can support peaceful protests as well by joining in.
Criticisms of the Anti-Rioting Bill
The Florida anti-rioting bill, HB 1, was passed on April 19, 2021. It increases the penalties for crimes that happen during riots and violent protests. It is said to be one of the strictest laws to sort out rioting issues in the entire country. However, is it also the vaguest and most dangerous to our constitutional right? Some say it is.
Many experts, lawmakers, and lobbyists claim that the new anti-rioting law will infringe on a citizen's constitutional right to peaceful protest. They worry that the law will give the government and police enough power to arrest any protestor, even the peaceful ones.
The BLM March: "We Cannot Be Afraid"
Photo from Wikicommons
In response to this strict new law, a BLM march is underway. Donna Davis, the Tampa co-founder of BLM, is worried that people will feel like they cannot express themselves and protest peacefully with this new law in place. She wants to show BLM supporters and the local governments that peaceful protest will continue and that we, as a people, will not be silenced or intimidated into silence.
"We want people to understand that there are those who want us to be afraid and we cannot be afraid." - Donna Davis
Although they are worried about the turnout for the march being smaller than past marches, the only way through this mess is forward. Donna Davis hopes that when they march, they will be seen as peaceful citizens who are set on keeping their democracy.
So, how can you join the march on Saturday?
Screenshot of protest location from Google Maps
The march will happen Saturday, April 24th, at 2:30 p.m. If you want to join in the march, they are meeting at Cyrus Green Park at 2101 East Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tampa. The march starts at 2:30, so try to get there earlier. Make sure to bring water, and a positive attitude.
The purpose of the march is a peaceful demonstration against the new anti-rioting law. Most importantly, be safe. Although the new anti-rioting law is intimidating, we have the power to show them that we will not be afraid.