Milwaukee: ‘Drop the Charges’ rally for student who took placard from Nazi
Milwaukee, WI – Activists rallied outside the Milwaukee County courthouse on the afternoon of July 11 to stand in solidarity with a student who was arrested and charged for taking a vulgar, racist sign away from a Nazi.
Grae Hosmanek is a freshman student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In May, she and others witnessed a racist student protesting a Jewish event on campus and gathered around to deter him from spreading hate speech and threats. The lone fascist, who called himself “Chris,” was holding a sign that read “(((GAS)))” a reference to the Nazi holocaust, and another sign bearing a Nazi swastika. The sign also advocated for “civil war.” Chris told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he wanted to “spark the conversation” about “Marxism ideology.”
Hosmanek stepped in to take a sign away from the Nazi student, to the supportive cheers of the crowd that had gathered. She ripped the sign in half and ran off with it. The campus police caught her and arrested her a few minutes later. While police allowed the Nazi student to continue his threats toward Jewish and other students, Hosmanek was charged with theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.
After supporters gathered at her first court hearing, three of the charges were dropped. Hosmanek is still facing a charge of “vandalism,” and chose to fight her case at trial and plead not guilty to the bogus charge. “I want people to see me, what I did, and why I did it,” Hosmanek told Fight Back!, “You need to not only stand up for what is right, but be willing to put yourself on the line for it, every day.”
Inspired by her bold action, anti-racist activists, including students, immigrant rights groups, unionists, and university faculty are rallying to support Hosmanek and demand the bogus vandalism charge against her be dropped. Supporters have attended her first two court dates and are organizing support rallies for future hearings.
The support committee is asking people to attend the next trial on September 23. The support committee will meet at 2 p.m. at the Milwaukee County Courthouse fountain for a short rally to demand the judge “Drop the charges!” and walk into the courtroom together after the rally.