The protest movement that’s taken to Tampa Bay’s streets and to local budget hearings is just getting started.
“I feel like we’re being heard. I feel like we are not seen as powerful enough yet,” St. Petersburg-based community organizer and activist Ashley Green said in the latest episode of Political Party with Adam Smith.
Green and other activists dominated recent St. Petersburg budget hearings, but failed to convince city council members to shift more of the $672 million city budget into initiatives such as affordable housing and youth programs. But Green is unbowed, suggesting the movement and activism that soared in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, is here for the long haul and will be a force in next year’s mayoral and council elections.
“Whether or not we’re being respected, versus being heard, will be seen over the next few months as we start to engage more deeply with council and really move toward making sure next year’s budget is a lot more reflective of what we value as a city,” Green said.
Green discussed the city’s mayoral race expected to include Darden Rice and Ken Welch, whether young progressives are excited about Joe Biden, and how Tampa police have clashed with protesters far more than St. Petersburg police.
“The difference is truly the aggressiveness of the police,” Green said. “It’s really the police in whether or not they’re escalating or de-escalating the situation and in St Pete there’s been a much more hands off and de-escalated approach versus Tampa, where it just feels like anything goes.”