Thousands March In A Day Without Latinos
By H. Nelson Goodson
El Conquistador Newspaper
3206 W. National Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
May 1, 2007
Milwaukee, WI - Tenth of thousands of people supporting immigration reform marched through city streets in an effort to gain a path to citizenship, immigrant rights and calling for U.S. ICE to stop raids, which results in the separation of families. March organizers from Voces de la Frontera have estimated about 60,000 to 80,000 participants this year. The march stretched for more than a mile an a half, according to organizers.
Reports of Homeland Security and U.S. ICE activity on W. Wisconsin Ave. began to circulate an hour before the march began. Also, some demonstrators reported that federal agents were taking photos of the participants. When contacted U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic says that he was unaware of any federal involvement in monitoring the march and since this march is on city streets and involves city permits, jurisdiction would be with the City of Milwaukee, not federal authorities. No incidents between the demonstrators and federal and local authorities were reported.
“This massive turn-out on a work-day was a clear statement to Congress and the President that the immigrant community will not be intimidated and driven back into the shadows. It is also a clear sign that momentum continues to grow for fair legalization this year,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Fronteras.
Ricardo Chavez, a key leader of the United Farm Workers Union and brother of Cesar E. Chavez, and Craig Oliver, State Chair of the NAACP were keynote speakers at the Veterans Park “A Day Without Latinos” rally. An estimated 100 Latino small businesses were closed in support of the one day boycott, while other Latino businesses decided to stay open, according to organizers.
News reports from throughout the nation where marches took place indicate that this year a mere fraction of protesters flooded the streets. In Chicago, Illinois, police reported at least 150,000 participants compared to 400,000 last year. In Los Angeles, California, police reported that 25,000 participants marched in one of two events planned for the day compared to 200,000 last year.
In a related incident, Los Angeles police in riot gear fired rubber bullets after 6:00 p.m. without warning to dispersed a crowd after the peaceful march ended at MacArthur Park. The crowd that was fired upon was believed to be family members who gathered at the park, according to community activists.