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Milwaukee fundraiser for Ayotzinapa

By Sean Orr

Milwaukee  fundraiser event for Ayotzinapa.

Milwaukee, WI – On Dec. 18, nearly 100 people gathered at a local art studio on the South Side of Milwaukee for a fundraiser dedicated to the ongoing struggle of the Mexican masses against their corrupt government. With $5 admission at the door, all money raised was donated directly to the Comité de Padres de los Desaparecidos, an organization established by the parents of the 43 students from Iguala, Guerrero whose kidnapping and disappearance sparked the powerful mass movement that is gaining strength across México.

Since the disappearance of the 43 students, Milwaukee’s Mexican community has been moved and outraged by the repression occurring in their home country. The week of the disappearance, members of Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) organized a candlelit vigil attended by dozens of people. Similar vigils and rallies have followed across the city, as the movement against the Peña Nieto government gathered steam. This fundraiser, organized by members of YES and allies in the community, brought together those forces in Milwaukee that have stood up with the people of México.

While the event had a somber tone as the 43 revolutionary students who had been taken from their families were remembered, there was also an air of festivity as the community gathered together. Local artists auctioned off paintings, the mariachi group Rondalla Voces y Guitarras de Milwaukee played for the audience, and Mexican restaurants along with the Riverwest Co-Op donated food for the attendees.

“The fundraiser was a huge success,” said Valeria Gonzalez, one of the event’s organizers. “We raised over $800 and we brought together many community members throughout Milwaukee who really care for our brothers and sisters in México. At this event, we showed the true value of solidarity — not just with money, but with the powerful conversations and the presence of caring people in our community.”

A series of speakers included labor activist and former candidate for Milwaukee County sheriff Angela Walker, event organizer Jorge Maya, and YES member Luscely Flores. Also in attendance were organizations in the city that have supported the struggle against the Peña Nieto government, including Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and Workers World Party.

“I spoke tonight as a member of the Mexican immigrant community, as a student, as a worker and as a member of FRSO,” said Luis Gonzalez, who spoke for his group during the event. “With the Ayotzinapa comrades who lost their lives, a whole country has risen to demand justice. The continuous protests are moving towards ending the ‘War on Drugs’, ending the rule of the PRI and the other main political parties. In the U.S., it is our duty to support our comrades morally and materially and to demand an end to the War on Drugs and the U.S. government’s supply of weapons and training to the Mexican government.”

Based on the response of the community, more fundraisers will be planned for the future.

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