Milwaukee rallies for abortion access ahead of important spring ballot initiative
Milwaukee, WI – On April 1, activists, medical providers, community members and local politicians rallied in Red Arrow Park encouraging the people of Milwaukee to vote in a pivotal election for the state of Wisconsin. The community joined together, in the bitter wind, with a common goal in mind: to end the statewide ban on abortion.
Milwaukee showed up loud and proud with pickets reading, “Repeal 940.04” and “Abortion is not a crime,” accompanied by live music and speakers. Local organizations provided information on how to access abortion services and the ways the people can get involved in the fight for reproductive rights.
For the activists in Reproductive Justice Action-Milwaukee (RJAM), the spring election ballot is a testament to the effectiveness of grassroots organizing. Shortly after RJAM formed, in June of 2022, they started demanding that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors add an advisory referendum to the fall ballot. When the County Board Supervisors voted against it, RJAM took to the streets and picketed the houses of each supervisor who was in opposition of the referendum.
“We spent our summer showing up at their houses, with pickets and megaphones. We chanted while banging pots and pans,” said Carly Klein, of RJAM. “We were so loud they would call the cops on us, but it was worth it. Now, thanks to grassroots organizing, the people of Milwaukee have an opportunity to voice their opinions on abortion access.”
RJAM hopes to use the results of the advisory referendum as momentum for their current campaign, having Milwaukee County’s District Attorney John Chisholm, sign a pledge stating he will not prosecute abortion cases. Chisholm had made a verbal statement, shortly after the overturning of Roe, that he would not prosecute abortion cases. RJAM wants to hold him accountable and put his promises down in writing.
“Right now, there is nothing binding Chisholm to his word, and he's been hesitant to sign the pledge,” Klein said. “We're going to hold his feet to the fire until he signs!”
Members of RJAM worked to gather petition signatures from attendees at the rally. The goal is to continue collecting signatures on their petition to show Chisholm that the community supports him signing the pledge. RJAM’s petition can be found at: https://forms.gle/2gFD1etf9o6A4Zn98