- Views & Opinions
Thousands of people Feb. 13 went on strike, closed their businesses and withdrew their children from school to resist Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and to stop Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s from enrolling his department in the federal 287g program.
The events, a “Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants and Refugees,” culminated in a march from Voces de la Frontera’s offices to the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
Voces said throughout the state, more than 150 factories, grocery stores, bakeries, construction companies, auto dealers, restaurants and other businesses closed out of solidarity or due to worker absence.
More than 120 businesses closed in Milwaukee.
Many other businesses experienced decreased production due to work stoppages, Voces said in a news release.
At the courthouse, there was music and speeches, including by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde and state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee.
“Today, we escalate the national and international struggle against Trump’s executive orders, which aim to expand the machinery of mass deportation and legalize discrimination based on race and religion,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera.
She continued, “We came from more than 25 cities in Wisconsin to show Trump and his lapdog Sheriff Clarke that the people of Milwaukee, the people of Wisconsin, and this whole country reject the 287g program and their mass deportation plans. Today, we organized a Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants, and Refugees to use our economic power – through work stoppages, small business closures and our consumer boycotts, to defend our families and communities.”
Germán Sanchez, an Omro dairy worker marched with five coworkers. Sanchez said, “Latinos are the backbone of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. Latinos are responsible for a large part of Wisconsin’s milk production. We work long hours in the cold and heat. We are a positive part of the community, we are family and work-oriented. We love what we do, but we are organized and ready to fight against people like Trump, Clarke, or any politician who attacks our families. We have power. Trump needs to know that if he is putting Latinos at risk, he is putting the dairy industry and the whole economy at risk.”
The Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition participated in the action. MMWC president Janan Najeeb said, “This is not a struggle that has Muslims, immigrants and refugees on one side and everyone else on the other side. This is a struggle between people that stand for brotherhood, compassion, mercy, justice and human dignity on one side and those that stand for hatred, racism, xenophobia and injustice on the other side.”
See photographs by Joe Brusky from the day here.