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SDS chapters from across the Midwest meet in Kenosha to protest Trump, police brutality

By staff |
September 3, 2020
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Victor Garcia of Parkside SDS in Kenosha speaks after spending 24 hours in polic
Victor Garcia of Parkside SDS in Kenosha speaks after spending 24 hours in police custody. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Kenosha, WI - In a gesture of solidarity, several Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapters, including Milwaukee and Minneapolis, met with Parkside SDS students to rally in protest of President Trump's visit to Kenosha on September 1. Trump, in a controversial decision, decided to assess the damage to various areas of the city in relation to civil unrest over several days.

The Kenosha uprising began August 23 in response to the near killing of Jacob Blake, 29, at the hands of Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey. Despite officials, including Governor Tony Evers, asking the president to postpone his trip at risk of fanning the flames of an already tense situation, Trump made his way throughout Kenosha to survey damage and hold a roundtable with local business owners and officials.

The SDS chapters met at Civic Park, the previous scene of clashes between protesters, riot police and the National Guard, to rally the community in telling President Trump to go back home.

"I was out there to be alongside my community and to bring awareness of the one of many injustices that the police have contributed to," said Jenni Valladares of Parkside SDS. "Standing back and watching won’t achieve anything."

With multiple speakers, the event quickly grew from 20 SDS members to a crowd of about 100 people who frequently chanted in support of victims of police brutality and the demand over defunding a racist police force. Speakers included Victor Garcia, a Parkside SDS member who was recently released after being detained by unmarked officers in Kenosha, and Ariana Holmes, a member of the Wisconsin district of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The rally ended with more chants and many rally goers confronting the National Guard at the Kenosha city courthouse across the street from the park.

Rory Donovan, a member of UW-Milwaukee's SDS, was in awe at so many chapters coming together with the community.

"When SDS chapters came together to respond to that, we're saying we won't take that lying down, and we're not alone," said Donovan.

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