Milwaukee car caravan says: “No to COPS grant, yes to CPAC!”
Milwaukee, WI – On January 9, nearly 100 people joined a car caravan starting at Kops Park put on by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (MAARPR) to say no to the COPS grant and yes to CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council).
The COPS grant would give the Milwaukee Police Department $9.7 million to dedicate 30 officers to Operation Legend, a program that unfairly targets Black and Latino communities. The Milwaukee Common Council voted no to the COPS grant in December only to have Alderperson Nikiya Dodd put it back up for reconsideration. That revote is scheduled for later this month.
The People’s Revolution, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Los Brown Berets Milwaukee and the Martin Luther King Coalition all came out to join the caravan.
The line of cars stretched out three blocks with protesters honking to show solidarity. The caravan first stopped at Alderperson Nikiya Dodd’s house to demand that she vote no to the COPS grant. The crowd chanted “No justice! No peace,” and “CPAC! Fight back!”
“Today is a new day. It's a new age and the people are watching now. Every major vote from now on will be looked at,” said Ulysses Thomspon, a member of MAARPR and a rank-and-file trade unionist with Teamsters Local 200. “If your records aren't to our liking, the people will vote you out of office or make you want to leave office because there will be no peace as long as there is no justice.”
The caravan continued toward Common Council President Cavalier Johnson’s house. A speaker from The People’s Revolution, Kamila Ahmed, stated, “Cavalier Johnson has misled many people. He misled us. He told us his constituents said they wanted him to vote yes. We’ve been all up through this neighborhood, I’ve not met one person that says they need more police on these streets.” The caravan remained on Alderperson Cavalier Johnson’s block to make some noise and make sure his neighbors knew that he’s not listening to the community’s demands.
The caravan circled back to Kops Park to hear veteran organizer and founding member of the original Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Brian Verdin, give a speech. Verdin stated the importance of showing up to stand for what’s right. Verdin also gave praise to the Alliance.
“On the heels of the anti-war movement, there was the struggle to free Angela Davis. After that was the founding of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in 1972 and, when I heard that the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression was going to be refounded, I was so proud,” said Verdin. “We need unity more than ever,” he added, “and that is why I love the Alliance so much. It’s strong ideologically and it’s strong organizationally. And we need national organizations more than ever. Stick with the Alliance, stick with the movement because the movement will never let you down.”