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Thousands expected to join March for Our Dreams & Freedom in Orlando on May Day

Danielle Prieur
Thousands of Central Floridians are expected to attend the rally.

Advocates will hold a march at Lake Eola on Monday, May 1 to protest recently passed laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ people, immigrants and women.

Dozens of advocacy groups in Central and Southwest Florida will participate in the March for Our Dreams and Freedom at Lake Eola.

Among them are Hope Community Center, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrant and LGBTQ rights in the Apopka area.

Director Felipe Sousa Lazaballet said that as an immigrant and gay man, he can’t just sit back and watch quietly without doing anything.

“And I know firsthand what it feels like to not have papers, to live in fear, to have to hide. And at the same time, I'm also LGBTQ plus," said Sousa Lazaballet. "I have a beautiful husband, a beautiful family. And this is my home. And I exist. And you know, while there is so much hatred coming from Tallahassee, we're fighting with love. We're fighting with belonging. We're fighting back in a different way.”

Sousa Lazaballet said the Republican-backed immigration reform package would especially hurt his family. HB 1617 would make it a felony to shelter undocumented people and make it harder for them to receive medical care.

“I mean, I'm a US citizen now, which is an incredible blessing," said Sousa Lazaballet. "But I still have family members that are not, and I'm not going to stop loving my family members simply because the governor decided that that's against the law.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s cracking down on an influx of illegal immigration into the US that he blames on President Biden.

Thousands of local residents are expected to attend.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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