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UW-Parkside SDS lead rally to free Chrystul Kizer, confront DA Graveley

By Ethan Costello |
February 7, 2020
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Kenosha, WI protest demands justice for Chrystul Kizer.
Kenosha, WI protest demands justice for Chrystul Kizer. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Kenosha, WI - Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized a #FreeChrystul rally at UW-Parkside on February 5 that saw 40 protesters attend. The demonstrators congregated outside the building where District Attorney Mike Graveley, Chrystul Kizer’s prosecutor, was teaching his first class of the spring semester, on criminal law.

The group began with chants that echoed across the campus thanks to the excellent acoustics between campus buildings. Coinciding with the start of the class period, speakers from different organizations and backgrounds shared their messages. These included Adelana Akindes, a leader with SDS; Annia Leonard, from Uplifting Black Liberation And Community (UBLAC); Michael Bell Sr., the father of Michael Bell, who was shot and killed by the Kenosha Police Department in 2004; and Devore Taylor, Chrystul’s mother.

Taylor said that Graveley “had evidence about not only Chrystul but a whole bunch of others. It wasn’t just her. And the fact it took for her to do something because she was tired of it.” She added, “He is trying to sweep the whole problem under the rug but it’s so much bigger than her.”

DA Graveley has doubled down on his rhetoric that Kizer is simply a cold-blooded killer and a menace to society, while simultaneously ignoring the truth about who Randall Volar III was: a pedophile and sex trafficker who profited from targeting young Black girls. Volar’s victims are numerous, as evidenced by his libraries of child pornography found on his computers that he produced. Graveley ignores this and intends to prosecute Kizer and to put her in prison for life.

“The system is racist. The system is sexist. The system is classist. So for Chrystul, a young black teenage girl, from a working-class family, the system cares the least about her and it shows,” said SDS leader Adelana Akindes. “The injustice is profound. Chrystul deserves justice. Chrystul deserves to live a free life. She deserves to heal from these atrocities.”

Kat Miller, rally emcee and SDS organizer, closed the speeches by reading aloud the letter written by the Harvard Law School National Lawyers Guild to DA Graveley condemning his conduct.

The demonstrators then marched to the doors of the hall in which Graveley was teaching a class not more than 100 feet away, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho! Graveley has got to go!” and “When Chrystul Kizer is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

In case Graveley could not hear or was attempting to ignore the protesters outside his classroom, SDS organizers plastered his classroom with flyers saying “Chrystul Kizer defended herself” and left copies of the Lawyers Guild letter on desks so that his students knew who was teaching their class. This was only the first among what is sure to be many actions on campus against DA Graveley as the students from SDS attempt to get him removed from teaching there.

At the pre-trial hearing on the morning of February 6, Graveley acted like someone who is feeling the heat from the masses of people who support the effort to free Chrystul. Her bail was reduced from the absurd sum of $1 million down to a still ridiculous $400,000. Her defense team is asking for it to be dropped to $100,000. SDS, the #HandsOffChrystul Committee, and all of Chrystul’s supporters have their eyes on March 16, which is the date of the first trial hearing.