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Hundreds march for essential immigrant workers in Milwaukee May Day

By Ryan Hamann |
May 4, 2021
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May Day in Milwaukee, WI.
May Day in Milwaukee, WI. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Milwaukee, WI - In spite of gusts of wind in excess of 50 miles per hour, more than 250 people marched from the office of Wisconsin’s premier immigrant rights organization, Voces de la Frontera, to the office of reactionary U.S. Senator Ron Johnson on the afternoon of May 1. The focus of the march was on essential immigrant workers.

The action was kicked off in the streets outside the recently-opened Voces headquarters. A few speeches, a song, and a prayer got the people in attendance ready to march. Marchers then made their way downtown to pay Senator Johnson’s office a visit. Along the way, people chanted in both English and Spanish: “The people united will never be defeated / El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,” “Sí se puede” and “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here!”

While the action was hosted exclusively by Voces de la Frontera, many different people’s organizations turned out in support. Trade unionists representing the Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council joined with members of Teamsters Local 344 to demonstrate solidarity. Community organizations like the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression mobilized in force, helping to lead chants along the march. And it wouldn’t be May Day without the socialist organizations that turned out in support, including the Freedom Road Socialist Organization with a strong contingent.

The march ended in the street outside of Senator Johnson’s offices. Speeches there were highlighted by the daughter of VDLF leader Christine Neumann-Ortiz as the keynote. Traditionally, Neumann-Ortiz has served as the headline speaker, but she along with a group of other Voces leaders and supporters were marching in Washington, D.C. The speeches called for an end to deportations, COVID recovery for all and citizenship for all.

May Day fell on President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office. It’s notable that under the new Democrat administration, deportations have continued, including an increase from the Trump administration for people of particular origins, such as Haitians. It remains to be seen whether the Biden-Harris administration will meet the demands of the people, but what is certain is that the people will not stop fighting until they have achieved victory in the struggle for justice and liberation.