May Day in Madison, Mission Accomplished!
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May Day a Total Success!
Immigrant Workers Union (UTI)
Contact Information: Alex Gillis 608/345-9544 Email: alexmgillis@....
Madison, Wisconsin-May 1st, 2008
Today, around 700 hundred people march from Brittingham Park in Madison demanding immigration reform and immigrant rights in the streets and in the workplace. The third anniversary of the massive marches of spring 2006, hit Madison with renewed energy to further the agenda of immigrant and labor rights. The labor movement and the immigrant rights movement showed a united front in their demands that highlighted issues such as the demand for universal health care, an end to the war, and that the Dane County Sheriff step down.
The events began a little after noon with the arrival of students from local high schools and the University of Wisconsin. The students were chanting "Sí se puede" creating enthusiasm among the crowd that received them. In a rally characterized by high hopes and positive energy, the police registered no incidents.
Towards the end of the rally, there were a few words spoken by Dane County Supervisor Al Matano, Jorge Carrera and Hector Ordoñez from U.T.I (Immigrant Workers Union), Frank Medina (Lawyer), Patrick Hickey from Workers Right Center, Will Williams from TAME / MAPC, M.E.Ch.A (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan), C.A.N (Campus Antiwar Network), I.S.O. (International Socialist Organization), Local Spanish media, WNPJ (Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice), and others.
The speakers who received the largest applause were those who expressed support for the main demands of immigration reform and to a stop to Sheriff Mahoney's harassment of immigrant workers and their families.
Organizers of the event were content with the rally yet were quick to point out that the labor and immigrant rights movement face huge challenges in the near future. "Raids are really shaping the turn out of the rallies, but it is about time people will overcome this general mood of fear and regain the streets" Clarissa Pearson (IWU)
The Immigrant Workers' Union thanks the Madison community for its continued support of immigrant workers, especially the May Day Committee that has been working with IWU since August 2007. The committee along with UW student organizations, and the tens of volunteers that helped spread the word about the rally. Yvonne Geerts, IWU said, "2008 has been a hard year to organize around this issue. Many families are really afraid to exercise their rights due the increase of raids and the general mod against immigrants". Miguel O., father of two said, "but at the end, we know there is no other way forward"
Now Dave Mahoney has to decide
Far from gone; critics of Dave Mahoney are spreading among the community. He is reporting any non US citizen (whether documented or not) to ICE.
He argues he is asked by ICE to do so. However, not only he is not mandatorily obligated by the ICE, but also creating a lot of negative effects in the community. At this moment, many people within the immigrant community do not trust in the credibility's of a judge sentence anymore "The judge sentenced my brother for 3 days of jail but Mr Mahoney decided to punish him harsher and deported him. Now that he's away, it ruined his 4 year old's childhood by reporting him to the ICE" testified Rosalba Rodriguez.
Dave Mahoney has to choose between bringing Madison jails to the immigration reform debate arena or do the right thing and wait for the new immigration reform to apply new regulation instead of using the current broken system to remove workers form the county.
IWU says that the only way out for this situation is to call for a recall of Sheriff Mahoney. Time is running out and Mahoney is proving a lack of community sensitivity and leadership to keep a safe and pro-human rights community.