All work and low pay brings protesters to Tampa Bay

By Joshua Santos |
Photo by Joshua Santos

Editor’s Note: The Gargoyle’s Josh Santos is in Tampa covering the Republican National Convention.

Hundreds of protesters from all over the country gathered in Lykes Gaslight Park in Tampa’s downtown district Sunday afternoon. Many came in buses, others found out via Facebook and Twitter, and some just happened to be walking by on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. Yet the majority of the people agreed they were tired of working (in many cases multiple jobs) for little pay.

“You know a lot of people are maybe brainwashed by the idea if the big companies do well, everybody else does well because it trickles down to them, but it hasn’t worked” said Noam Brown, a protester from Lake Worth, Fla. “It’s really in our hands what happens and we shouldn’t rely on the greed of the few to take care of the many.”

Among the sea of signs in support of the “99 percent,” workers who said they were from Bain Capital, as well as companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and Carraba’s voiced their concerns around a small stage. Presenters amped the crowd in preparation for the march towards the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the Republican National Convention will take place. Many in the crowd spoke about how the cost of living has increased more than their wages. “We’re working making a little over $7.25 an hour while gas is going up almost everyday,” said Sam Moore, a Dunkin’ Donuts employee from Pittsburgh, PA. “I’ve got two kids to take care of … that’s not enough.”

Volunteers in orange vests made sure the crowd stayed in line while cops watched from all sides as they made their way through the heart of downtown Tampa.

Once the protesters reached the outside fence of the Forum, they attempted to get the attention of the GOP officials who were gathered outside across the field. “If they can cap the minimum wage, they should be able to cap wealth as well,” said Hollie Albert, a Stand Up Florida advocate from West Palm Beach. “You know one of the things I hear the GOP talking about is welfare … they don’t want people to become dependent, but a lot of the people on public assistance are working. That is a big deal.”

After about half an hour, protesters began going their separate ways and the main group made its way to the bus pick-up point. Many said they will stay for a few more days and attending more protests as the convention starts Tuesday.

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