Resources & Media

Protesters Gather Downtown Throughout RNC

The Minaret
August 31, 2012
Kelly St. Onge

Protesters camped out this week in downtown Tampa, Fla. to express their concerns with Republican Party viewpoints. Different political committees converged to share one thing, their very clear opinion that Mitt Romney and his policies should not be elected into the nation’s executive office in November.

“Romneyville” is a vacant lot covered with tents and posters from the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Dylan Kelley, a college student from Vermont, camped out with the protestors. He said the signs made by the campaign were created to emphasize their demand for systematic change based on a “human rights framework.”

Kelley held that all Americans should have the right to a job, a free education through college, and sufficient housing. “I’m $78,000 in debt and I haven’t graduated yet,” he said. “I’m not even going to an ivy league school. I’m going to a small school … in rural Vermont that almost nobody has heard of.”

Affirming that health care is equally important, he continued, “No one should be denied health care just because they have a low amount in their bank account or cash in their pockets.”

Sonya Kuznetsov, from Minnesota, arrived in Tampa with other members of Bend the Arc, a Jewish Partnership for Justice, on their “If I Were A Richman Tour.”

“We are out across the country targeting the ten wealthiest congressmen’s districts and talking about how we believe the top two percent should be paying their fair share in taxes,” Kuznetsov said. “And that the Bush era tax cuts need to sunset for the top two percent come this December.”

Bend the Arc has a petition online for tax fairness at Although a fairly new political action committee, the Bend the Arc Organization has more than 1000 followers on Twitter. They have been to districts in California, Austin, TX, Dallas, TX, and Irving, TX and they will be making a few stops on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

“We’ve had hundreds of conversations with constituents and the districts that they live in and talking about how important tax fairness is and why this issue affects them,” Kuznetsov elaborated. “We’re talking to everyday people that we can rally to make a difference.”

Rick Bishop of Tampa was standing on his own off of Kennedy Blvd. “It was important for me to come out and basically let people know that the policies that are being promoted by the Republican Party are not supported by a large percentage of people in the Tampa Bay Area,” affirmed Bishop.

Bishop thinks the policies that were in place from 2000-2008 had a track record of failure and believes that Mitt Romney will be a repeat of the Bush era.

“I’m hopeful that just being out here delivering the message that there’s an opposing view to Republican position will convince independent people who use logic and reason to make their decision in November, not to buy into … the media hype that the Republicans are promoting,” Bishop asserted.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa gave the protesters downtown access to water and bathrooms (porter potties) throughout the week of the convention. “We are being supportive of people who want to come and want to offer an alternative opinion,” Buckhorn affirmed.

Romneyville brought to Tampa more than just an alternative opinion, it brought a mainstream of Obama followers telling their stories on a poverty stricken lot at the intersection of N. Tampa Street and E. Fortune Street. These protesters came to Tampa to express different political viewpoints all against one political agenda, Mitt Romney’s.