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Black and Brown solidarity rally condemns deportations, police brutality in Milwaukee

By staff

Participants in Milwaukee Black and Brown solidarity rally against deportations

Milwaukee, WI – More than 100 people gathered at a rally, Sept. 26 at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to condemn deportations and police brutality.

Timed to coincide with a talk by Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow, the rally brought together two of the largest movements in Milwaukee. One is the movement against the mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, gathered around Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) and its parent organization Voces de la Frontera. The other important movement is against police brutality and mass incarceration, gathered around a number of community leaders and the families of police brutality victims.

Speaking to the gathered crowd, State Representative-elect David Bowen condemned the deaths of young African-American men at the hands of police. Next from Voces de la Frontera, Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz denounced “the private prison system that profits from filling its beds with undocumented immigrants.”

Then Angela Walker, socialist candidate for county sheriff, explained, “The historic tactic of the ruling class is to divide oppressed peoples against one another. By holding rallies like this we are challenging oppression and exploitation.”

Nate Hamilton, brother of Dontre Hamilton who was murdered by the Milwaukee Police Department, implored, “We need unity between Black and Brown communities. We call on all forces to rally this upcoming Tuesday at Red Arrow Park, the site of my brother’s murder, to mark the fifth month anniversary of his death.”

MATC community college students led the rally. Youth Empowered in the Struggle at MATC founder Mario Gomez laid the foundation for the rally by looking at the common denominator between mass deportation and mass incarceration – class exploitation and national oppression. Gomez spoke directly, “Let’s be honest, they’re targeting the working class. They’re not targeting just anybody. They’re not out here targeting and deporting rich Europeans and Canadians. They’re targeting the working class, and as a proud member of that working class, at the largest working class college in Wisconsin, we’ve got to start fighting back!”

The rally maintained a high level of enthusiasm throughout, and ended with YES leading the crowd in a Unity Clap, inspired by the farmworkers struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. All participants were invited to a lunch social afterward, hosting by the MATC student organizations.

Co-sponsors of the rally included: Youth Empowered in the Struggle, Youth Empowered in the Struggle – MATC, MATC Black Student Union, MATC Latino Student Organization, Voces de la Frontera, and the African American Roundtable.

Speakers at Black and Brown solidarity rally.

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