Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman, (414)-469-9206
On Monday, tens of thousands of people went on strike, closed their businesses, and withdrew their children from school to resist Trump’s executive orders on immigration and the resulting wave of immigration raids sweeping the country, and to stop Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s from enrolling his department in the federal 287g program, which would deputize his sheriffs to act as Immigration agents. The day’s events, known as a “Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants, and Refugees,” culminated in a massive march of tens of thousands of people from Voces de la Frontera’s offices to the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The diverse march included hundreds of Muslim community members, many of whom also struck and closed their businesses, and joined the march as a body as marchers entered downtown.
Throughout Wisconsin over 150 factories, grocery stores, bakeries, construction companies, auto dealers, restaurants, and many other types of businesses closed out of solidarity or due to worker absence, including over 120 in Milwaukee alone. Many more businesses including hotels, manufacturers, and dairies experienced decreased production due to work stoppages.
Following the march, the massive crowd rallied on the steps of the courthouse, listening to music and speeches from community leaders and elected officials including Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde, and State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee.
“Today, we escalate the national and international struggle against Trump’s executive orders, which aim to expand the machinery of mass deportation and legalize discrimination based on race and religion,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “We came from more than 25 cities in Wisconsin to show Trump and his lapdog Sheriff Clarke that the people of Milwaukee, the people of Wisconsin, and this whole country reject the 287g program and their mass deportation plans. Today, we organized a Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants, and Refugees to use our economic power – through work stoppages, small business closures and our consumer boycotts, to defend our families and communities.”
“Latinos are the backbone of Wisconsin’s dairy industry,” said Germán Sanchez, an Omro, Wisconsin dairy worker who struck and marched with 5 coworkers. “Latinos are responsible for a large part of Wisconsin’s milk production. We work long hours in the cold and heat. We are a positive part of the community, we are family and work-oriented. We love what we do, but we are organized and ready to fight against people like Trump, Clarke, or any politician who attacks our families. We have power. Trump needs to know that if he is putting Latinos at risk, he is putting the dairy industry and the whole economy at risk.”
“This is not a struggle that has Muslims, immigrants and refugees on one side and everyone else on the other side,” said Janan Najeeb, President of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition. “This is a struggle between people that stand for brotherhood, compassion, mercy, justice and human dignity on one side and those that stand for hatred, racism, xenophobia and injustice on the other side. Scapegoating Latinos, immigrants and refugees distracts from addressing real issues and offering real solutions. This city and this country cannot live and function without Latinos, immigrants and refugees! We are physicians, scientists and engineers, we are chefs and waiters, we are farmers and farmhands, we are business owners and domestic helpers. We give life to our city and to our country, and we are not going anywhere!”