Over the past week, a group of Portland mothers banded together to form a line of protection for peaceful protesters, and now a similar “Wall of Moms” is coming to Tampa for an upcoming visit by President Donald Trump.
The group Wall of Moms Tampa plans to join a protest planned for July 31
, when Trump will be in town for a fundraiser, where guests can spend up to $100,000 for direct access to the president. “@TampaWom
will be there, please help us spread the word! #BLM
,” said the group in a recent tweet.
"When George Floyd called out for mama, all mothers were summoned... I’m just a mom who happens to be from the (Pacific Northwest) that now lives in Tampa. Have many family/friends back home protesting in PDX. Decided to start the Tampa group b/c I know they’re going to be some upcoming local protests and I’ve seen a lot of people wanting the group formed," the Tampa Wall of Moms organizer wrote in an email to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
"We are here to support the #BLM movement and take direction from local BLM leaders on how to best do that. Our goal is not to be the voice of someone else’s experience. Only to protect their right to have their voice heard." In a direct message to CL, the owner of the handle said they were OK with handing the handle over to Black Lives Matter organizers and becoming a participant.
The protest, which is called “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA,”
is organized by Tampa’s Black Collective Movement. “Let’s make sure this day is unforgettable AND unwelcoming,” says the caption for the flier. As of now, no meeting location, or other details are available.
The upcoming protests will also be joined by another support group, Wall of Vets Tampa
. “We support peaceful protests, and people are legally their constitutional and civil rights: we will stand as a shield between them and those who would violate those rights,” reads a statement
from Wall of Vets Tampa, which also noted that it's only here to support local civil rights leaders, and not take away from their messaging.
Since early July, officers with the Department of Homeland Security have made national headlines for patrolling Portland in unmarked vans and detaining people without identifying themselves.
Similar to Portland, Trump has signaled that he’ll send federal troops to occupy other Democrat-run cities like New York City, Chicago
, Kansas City
, Baltimore, Oakland, Philadelphia and Detroit
. While it's unclear if Tampa will be included, Mayor Jane Castor told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that a federal response to protesters at Trump’s fundraiser would only be appropriate if there was a request from both her office and the Tampa Police Department.
“If the community needs assistance with their violent crime, they should request assistance, not the other way around,” Castor told CL.
Portland’s Wall of Moms first appeared on July 20, with around 30 women and the numbers have only grown in the following days. Bev Barnum, who started the group, told BuzzFeed News
the goal is to keep federal agents from inciting violence with protesters by appearing less threatening. "We wanted to look like we were going to Target, like normal people."
Federal agents, who are often only identifiable in Army-style camouflage with no identification other than a "Police" label on their outfits, have since shot tear gas and “non-lethal rounds"
at the Wall of Moms.
On Sunday, President Trump claimed that the "wall of moms" in Portland is a "scam."
"The 'protesters' are actually anarchists who hate our Country,” tweeted
Trump. “The line of innocent 'mothers' were a scam that Lamestream refuses to acknowledge, just like they don't report the violence of these demonstrations!"
Per usual, Trump gave no details or evidence on exactly why he thinks a group of mothers defending protesters is a “scam.”
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.