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Diverse Tampa Protesters Are United In Their Message For Racial Justice

Jessica Meszaros
Sasha Glasper, Mike Eubanks, their twin 6 year-old sons Maxwell and Grayson marching north on Bayshore Boulevard.

WUSF is amplifying the voices in our community speaking out about racial justice.

It's now week three of nationwide demonstrations since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

This weekend, we spoke with people marching in this weekend's Black Lives Matter protest along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

Thousands from across the Tampa Bay region - of all ages, colors, and sexual orientations - joined the march in support of racial equality.

While diverse, the protesters were united in their message.

"I came here to march against police brutality," said Sasha Glasper of Tampa, who marched with her husband and twin 6 year-old sons.

Mike Eubanks and Sasha Glasper explain why they wanted to bring out their twin sons to the march

"We see it in the news, we've seen it consistently. Just being a black woman - a woman of multi-ethnic race- it's important for me. I have black sons, I have a black husband, so it's important to be out here and to fight with for what's right. I tell my sons, if there's bullies you need to stand up. And that's part of what we're doing today."

Credit Jessica Meszaros
Victoria Armstrong of Clearwater and her 3 year-old son.

Victoria Armstrong’s fiancé and father of her child, Linus Phillip, was killed by police during a traffic stop in Largo in 2018.

“He was shot five times, and then they also went to the funeral home and tried to pull his body out for fingerprints to get into his phone. So we've dealt with a lot of corruption and I'm over it,” she said.

Armstrong remembers Philip as a teddy bear.

“He was just the goofiest person ever. He loves sports. He was definitely not a violent person. He didn't have a weapon on him when he was killed, so he didn't deserve that. No one does,” she said.

“I want them to see that you have to put action behind words you can post as much as you want online, but it's not going to do much if you're not out doing the footwork. They need to see it's multiple races coming together for this cause.”


Credit Jessica Meszaros
Randall Ceneus recently graduated from the University of South Florida with his Masters degree in Global Sustainability.

Randall Ceneus came to protest police brutality and to protest for legislative changes.

“This is this is not just a Black Lives Matter issue," he said. "As a college graduate, someone who is educated, it is most important that we, as the upcoming voting generation, needs to have their voice heard in order for us to change the legislation so that when we get older, our children will not have to face the same exact troubles and difficulties and oppression that we had to deal with.”

Credit Jessica Meszaros
Helga Winold, 83, has not protested since she was in college during the Vietnam War.

“I want to support the movement I think it’s really important,” said 83 year-old Helga Winold. “We need to something after hundreds of years of injustice, so I hope lots will come out of this.”

The last time she protested, she said, was against the Vietnam War as a college student at Indiana University. Winold said protesting back then was painful because the war went on and people died for nothing. But she said she feels there’s hope for this Black Lives Matter movement.  

Credit Jessica Meszaros
Joe Todd and Scott Wade have been together for 20 years and said they have faced discrimination themselves, so they want to support their "black brothers and sisters."

"Just kind of tired of seeing hateful things happen to all kinds of different people: black, white, gay, straight, the whole mix," said Joe Todd. "We've experienced ourselves and it's nice to be part of a movement that's helping others and expressing that."

His partner Scott Wade was emotional, tearing up because Friday was the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. 

"It's just a lot of things are happening to a lot of people and people need to start standing up," said Wade.

Credit Jessica Meszaros
Yoli Hernandez marched to represent Latinos in the community.

Yoli Hernandez marched with a sign that said, "Latinos for black lives" and "Your fight is my fight."

“I'm actually hoping that like somewhere out there some kind of like horribly inflicted self-hating Latino sees this and realizes that this is the same fight,” she said. 

“There's tons of Latinos who are facing the same discrimination and they just really don't want to see it because they're like, ‘But I'm not that dark… I'm a good citizen.’ It doesn't matter,” said Hernandez.

This story is produced in partnership with America Amplified, an initiative using community engagement to inform local journalism. It is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.