Tag Archives: Voces De La Frontera

Immigrant allies rallying in nationwide day of action

Continue reading Immigrant allies rallying in nationwide day of action

Voces de la Frontera: We must now redouble our efforts

The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera announced a series of community forums throughout Wisconsin following the victory of Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border, conduct mass deportations and institute a ban on certain types of people coming to America.

The first forum will be at St. Rafael Catholic Church, 2059 S. 33rd St., Milwaukee, at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The second forum will be at the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave., Racine, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, issued this statement after the election:

“For 15 years, Voces de la Frontera has fought to defend immigrant workers and their families. With every organizing tool available, our community has ceaselessly protected itself from the same xenophobia that has now risen to power in the government. We’ve done it through marches, rallies, civil disobedience, lawsuits, building electoral power and more. With Trump’s election, we must now redouble our efforts.”

She continued, “The immigrant rights movement is resilient, militant and rooted in working class identity. Our movement has broad experience mobilizing strikes, walkouts, boycotts, and economic action when political action has not been possible, as we did in Wisconsin when we defeated anti-immigrant state legislation earlier this year by organizing a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants. If we see any movement to erode what our movement has won, like DACA, we will do whatever is needed to protect it. We are committed to organizing nationally with our networks and broadening the struggle to include other groups of workers and people who have been threatened by Trump.

“Trump’s message of fear and division unfortuantely resonated with white blue collar voters, who have suffered economic hardship similar to African Americans and Latinos. In the decimation of union organization, they don’t feel there’s a voice for them. But I do not believe that the majority of those people represent the worst elements of the Trump camaign – the far-right, white supremacist ideology we’ve seen. I think that most Trump voters want the same things that people of color want and need. And the promise they hoped to see in Trump will be betrayed, because he never ran on a platform that supported working people.”

The day after the election, Voces de la Frontera held a news conference where members spoke about how they are responding to Trump’s victory.

“I’m scared,” said Valeria Ruiz, 20, a DACA beneficiary from Racine. “From one day to another, my future, my 9-year-old sister’s future and that of more than 9 million undocumented immigrants in this country, is suddenly less certain. It’s terrifying. But we will do what we’ve always done – unite and fight.”

“I have a beautiful family,” said Lola Flores, an undocumented mother of four and Voces de la Frontera member from Waukesha. “Today my daughter called me from her middle school and told me that her Latino classmates were crying. It’s heartbreaking. But I will never stop fighting for the future of my children.”


 

La elección de Trump significa que tenemos que defendernos sin descansar

MILWAUKEE, WI – Después de la elección de Donald Trump como Presidente, Voces de la Frontera anunció una serie de foros comunitarios a en el estado de Wisconsin. El primer foro será en la Iglesia Católica San Rafael (2059 S 33rd St en Milwaukee) a la 1pm el domingo 13 de noviembre (más información aquí). El segundo foro será en Racine Labor Center (2100 Layard Ave en Racine) a las 5pm el domingo, 13 de noviembre (más información aquí).

En respuesta a los resultados electorales, Voces de la Frontera publicó la siguiente declaración:

“Por 15 años, Voces de la Frontera ha luchado para defender a los trabajadores inmigrantes y sus familias,” dijo Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Directora Ejecutiva de Voces de la Frontera. “Con todas las herramientas de organizar disponibles, nuestra comunidad se ha protegido sin cesar de la misma xenofobia que ahora () ha subido al poder de los Estados Unidos al gobierno. Lo hemos hecho a través de marchas, manifestaciones, desobediencia civil, luchas, representación del poder electoral y más. Ahora, tenemos que redoblar nuestros esfuerzos.

“Nuestro movimiento tiene una amplia experiencia movilizando huelgas, boicots y la acciones económicas cuando la acción política no ha sido posible, como lo hicimos en Wisconsin cuando derrotamos a las propuestas de ley anti-inmigrantes anteriormente este año al organizar un Día sin Latinxs e Inmigrantes. “Este movimiento basado en los derechos de los inmigrantes es resistente, militante y basado con la identificación de la clase trabajadora. Si vemos que cualquier de nuestros esfuerzos están siendo amenazados para ser elimanados, como DACA, vamos a hacer lo que sea necesario para protegerlos. Estamos comprometidos a organizar a través de nuestros redes nacionales y ampliaremos nuestra lucha para incluir a otros grupos de trabajadores y personas amenazadas por Trump.

“El mensaje de miedo y división de Trump resonó con los trabajadores blancos, que han sufrido dificultades económicas similares a los afroamericanos y a los latinos. Con la decadencia de las uniones, no sienten que hay una voz para ellos. Pero yo no creo que la mayoría de esas personas representan a los peores elementos de la campaña de Trump – la ideología de la extrema derecha, la supremacía blanca que hemos visto. Pienso que la mayoría de los votantes por Trump quieren las mismas cosas que la gente de color quiere y necesita. Sus esperanzas en Trump serán traicionadas, porque Trump nunca creó en una plataforma que apoyaba a la gente trabajadora.”

El miércoles, Voces de la Frontera tuvo una conferencia de prensa donde unos miembros de la organización hablaron sobre cómo están respondiendo a la victoria de Trump.

“Tengo miedo,” dijo Valeria Ruiz, de 20 años, una beneficiaria de DACA de Racine.”De un día para otro, mi futuro, el futuro de mi hermana de 9 años y el futuro de de más de 11 millones inmigrantes indocumentados en este país es de repente menos seguro. Es aterrador, pero haremos lo que siempre hemos hecho: unirnos y luchar.”

“Tengo una hermosa familia,” dijo Lola Flores, una madre indocumentada de cuatro hijos y miembra de Voces de la Frontera de Waukesha. “Hoy mi hija me llamó de su escuela media y me dijo que sus compañeros de clase latinos estaban llorando. Es desgarrador, pero nunca dejaré de luchar por el futuro de mis hijos.”

Milwaukee sheriff must release immigration detainer forms

A Wisconsin appeals court on April 12 ruled that Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke must release un-redacted immigration detainer forms for jail prisoners.

The ruling was on a freedom of information request filed by the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera. The organization requested copies of federal immigration detainer forms more than a year ago from the sheriff.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. — PHOTO: Courtesy
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. — PHOTO: Courtesy

The sheriff released 12 forms with redacted information. Clarke maintains that federal law prohibits his agency from releasing the complete records.

The immigrant rights group sued, demanding Clarke provide clean copies of the documents.

A Milwaukee judge ordered the release of the documents and this week the district court ordered the release, within 48 hours.

In a statement, Voices de la Frontera attorney Peter Earle said, “”This ruling reaffirms the right of Voces de la Frontera under Wisconsin’s open records law to monitor Sheriff Clarke to make sure he does not engage in improper immigration enforcement activity. It is a clear victory for Wisconsin’s immigrant community.”

Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz added, “This is a victory for open government and democracy and the immigrant rights movement. Sheriff Clarke can no longer carry out deportations in secret. We will now obtain information regularly to hold Clarke accountable for his deportations and ensure he is respecting new federal enforcement priorities. We never should have had to go to these lengths to obtain such basic information. Clarke should be ashamed for wasting taxpayer dollars on lawyers to try to keep indefensible deportations secret. It also underlines the need for local law enforcement to not be collaborating in deportations with federal immigration authorities because it discourages immigrants from reporting crimes.”

On the Web…

To read the order, click here.

 

Common Cause calls for public action to stop Republicans’ latest voter-suppression bill

On Feb. 9, the Wisconsin Senate passed, along partisan lines, hyper-partisan legislation — Senate Bill 295 — which eliminates the ability of organizations like the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Voces de la Frontera and even city and municipal clerks to be able to conduct effective voter registration drives. The measure also stipulates that mailed absentee ballots not received by Election Day will not be counted. Currently, absentee ballots that have a postmark on Election Day are counted. So that means thousands of absentee ballots will be disqualified! 

While SB 295 does provide for some online voter registration — a positive thing — the obvious hyper-partisan voter suppression provisions (added in secret and without a public hearing) render this legislation utterly unsupportable. Both state Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), the primary author of this abomination, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau,) were both incapable of being able to defend the legislation during the floor debate last week and simply called for partisan votes to defeat Democratic amendments that would have improved the bill. A number of Democratic state senators were outstanding in their determined assault on this measure: Julie Lassa of Stevens Point, Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee, Mark Miller of Monona, Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, Fred Risser of Madison, Chris Larson of Milwaukee, Janet Bewley of Ashland and Dave Hansen of Green Bay. 

The Assembly is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 295 tomorrow, Tuesday — Feb. 16 — and it is vitally important that you contact your State Representatives and inform them of your opposition to this legislation in its current form. One critical reason to do so is to build the public record in opposition to this and other anti-democratic legislation, as was done last fall when the GOP destroyed the non-partisan Government Accountability Board and transformed Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws into among the very weakest and most susceptible to corruption in the nation. Real citizens do not support this stuff — special interest-controlled politicians do. If you do not know who your state representative is, go here.

To find out more about this measure and why CC/WI does not support it — and why you need to oppose it, too, go here, here, here, here and here.  

Supreme Court will review Obama’s executive order on immigration

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review President Barack Obama’s December 2014 executive order granting up to 5 million undocumented residents the right to work legally in the United States, including 34,000 in Wisconsin.

The justices said they’ll consider the constitutionality of Obama’s plan, which lower courts blocked from taking effect after 26 Republican governors, including Scott Walker, filed suit against it. The court’s announcement comes amid a presidential campaign in which anti-immigrant fervor has galvanized the Republican Party.

AP reported the case will be argued in April and decided by late June, a month before the major political parties hold their nominating conventions.

Immigration reform groups were buoyed by the high court’s announcement, despite its 5–4 conservative majority. Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, said she’s expecting a favorable decision because the president’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program stands on strong constitutional ground.

“What (Obama’s) doing is not changing the law, but making a choice about priorities in terms of how we should use our immigration resources,” explained Neumann-Ortiz. “(The president’s) providing protection from deportation for five millions people. It’s not a permanent solution. That can only come from Congress. But it gives people three-year renewable visas, valid social security numbers and access to drivers’ licenses.”

Democratic officials also praised the court’s action. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that “law-abiding men and women continue to live in constant fear of being separated from their children. These families must be allowed to step out of the shadows and fully contribute to the country that they love and call home.”

At the center of the litigation is Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program. It would allow people who have been in the United States more than five years and who have children who are in the country legally to “come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

Obama’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. contends that blocking Obama’s plans forces millions of people “to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families.”

So far, the federal courts have blocked the administration from issuing work permits and allowing immigrants to receive some federal benefits. But Neumann-Ortiz said the legal jurisdictions that have been involved so far are untra-conservative and biased.

The case originated in the Western District of Texas and lost its second appeal at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

If the Supreme Court does side with the administration, that would leave only about seven months in Obama’s presidency to implement his plans. “We are confident that the policies will be upheld as lawful,” White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine told AP after the court’s action today.

Initially, the Obama administration said Texas and the other states that filed to block the immigration action didn’t have the right to challenge the plan in federal court. The lower courts decided, however, that Texas does have the standing to sue because at least 500,000 people living in the state would qualify for work permits and become eligible for driver licenses, the cost of which are subsidized by the state. “Texas would incur millions of dollars in costs,” the state said in its brief to the Supreme Court.

Texas asked the Supreme Court not to hear the case, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was pleased the justices will examine the president’s constitutional power to intercede without congressional approval.

The future of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally has been much discussed by Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has pledged to go further than Obama to protect large groups of immigrants from deportation.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has proposed deporting all people who are living in the U.S. illegally, an idea embraced by some GOP candidates and dismissed by others.

Obama said he was spurred to act on his own by Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. An earlier program that is not being challenged, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, shields immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Under that program, more than 720,000 young immigrants have been granted permission to live and work legally in the United States.

The White House also has shifted its enforcement actions to focus on criminals, those who pose a threat to national security or public safety, and recent border-crossers.

The change means that people who are here illegally but who are not otherwise violating the law are less likely to face deportation.

About 235,000 people were deported in the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

That was the smallest number since 2006 and a 42 percent drop since a record high of more than 409,000 in 2012.

Still, the administration drew criticism from Democrats and immigration advocates for raids this month that resulted in the arrest of more than 120 immigrants from Central America who came to the country illegally since 2014. Those recent arrivals are not among immigrants who would benefit from Obama’s plan.

Koch brothers push Latinos to vote GOP

Charles and David Koch have launched a multimillion-dollar marketing effort aimed at persuading Latinos to vote Republican in 2016, and Milwaukee is high on their list of targeted cities. The Libre Initiative recently announced it’s in the process of hiring a state field director based in the Milwaukee area.

The director won’t have to travel far to coordinate with the group’s national spokeswoman — Rachel Campos-Duffy. She’s the wife of U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Hayward, a tea party leader.

Libre focuses mostly on swing states with significant Latino populations, such as Wisconsin. Last year, political analysts pinpointed the state as one of the top 10 where the Latino vote plays a major role in electoral results.

Wisconsin had about 135,000 eligible Latinos voters in the 2014 midterm elections, according to the Pew Research Center. Their vote played a role in President Barack Obama’s victory in Wisconsin in 2012.

An analysis by the Pew Latino Center found that Latinos nationally voted for Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 71 percent to 27 percent.

Republicans want to put a halt to that.

Using Spanish-language radio and other targeted media, Libre stresses GOP message points framed to resonate with Latino voters, such as the party’s strong opposition to abortion and its embrace of school choice. Some commercials aired by the group have gone so far as to claim that Democrats want to abort Latino babies, according to Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera.

According to Libre’s marketing material, its goal is “to empower the U.S. Latino community so it can thrive and contribute to a more prosperous America.”

The Washington Post reported in May that Libre has quietly been building relationships with Latinos by providing them with such community services as driver’s license classes, tax preparation assistance, wellness checkups and food giveaways.

But along with the favors comes a heavy dose of right-wing ideology. Libre’s proselytizing is tailored to resonate with Latinos and overlooks the GOP’s demonization of immigrants and its opposition to immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11.3 million undocumented workers currently living in the United States.

Instead, Libre’s messaging focuses on the Republican vision that an unfettered free-market system is the only way to lift people out of poverty.

Critics, including leading immigrant rights leaders, point out that the free-market system can only benefit people who are allowed to live here and receive equal treatment under the law. That’s something that’s glaringly missing from Libre’s agenda. The group, like the Republican Party as a whole, is more interested in keeping Latinos out of the country than letting them in, let alone helping them once they’re here.

The harsh rhetoric that GOP presidential contenders have leveled at Mexican immigrants is perhaps the most accurate barometer of how the party feels about Latino immigrants. It’s probably the single most difficult hurdle that Republicans must overcome in their campaign to win over Latinos.

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “drug dealers” who must be deported to keep the nation safe. He wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and several other GOP candidates have declined to criticize that all-but-impossible proposal.

So it’s not surprising that Libre’s critics condemn its attempts to cultivate Latino voters as hypocritical trickery. After all, they say, Republicans have halted Obama’s deportation protection programs, which he issued through executive order.

In 2014, Obama issued the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, known as DAPA. It would have granted three-year exemptions from deportation to the undocumented parents of children born in the United States and of children with green cards.

But DAPA has been held up by a GOP lawsuit contending that the action exceeded presidential authority. The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to take up the case, which would affect more than 4 million people, in coming weeks.

Neumann-Ortiz and many other immigrant rights leaders say the Republican Party’s basic agenda also is detrimental to the working-class Latino immigrants currently living in the country. The GOP opposes raising the minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, for example — all programs that would give a leg-up to newly arrived immigrants. Republicans have also concocted a number of schemes to prevent poor people from access to voting.

Media Matters for Democracy looked at Libre’s policy positions and its leadership, composed entirely of GOP operatives, and concluded that the group urges Latinos to support policies that experts say go against their own interests and disenfranchise Latino voters.

Libre’s message aligns more with Republicans and with the principles and ideas of Charles and David Koch than the needs of Latinos.

But Libre plans to spend a lot of money to counter the hate talk of Trump and the hardline anti-immigrant positions of the Republican Party as a whole. Even Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, despite their Hispanic surnames, poll badly with Latinos due to their positions on immigration.

Libre has received at least $10 million  from the Koch brothers and an additional $15.8 million from Freedom Partners, a group that serves as the hub of Koch-backed political operations.

Libre’s other donors are unknown. As a 501(c)4 organization, it’s not required to disclose its donors, making it a dark money group.

Among Libre’s opponents is state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, who represents the largest Latino community in Wisconsin.

“I am committed to making sure my constituents are made aware that the primary goal of this right-wing organization is to get them to vote against their best interests by voting for Republican candidates who have consistently blocked my efforts to pass pro-Latino, pro-immigrant bills like drivers cards for undocumented immigrants (AB 343) and even symbolic efforts like a bill that would honor national civil rights leader, Cesar Chavez (AB 437),” Zamarripa said in a prepared statement.

Neumann-Ortiz said Libre will present obstacles to her efforts in 2016 to educate Latino voters about who is really on their side.

Most of the Latino voter education her group has done is “more nuanced” about the candidates than it will be in this election cycle, she said: “This time we’ve had to take a hard position against the Republican party.”

Neumann-Ortiz said poor Latinos are one of the least-informed groups politically. “For us, our program is not just going to be get out the vote, it’s going to have to be don’t be fooled by Libre.”

Another obstacle immigrant rights groups face in 2016 is the perception that Obama and the Democratic Party failed to live up to promises about immigration reform.

But Voces has proven up to the task. In 2014, when the Latino vote declined nationally, the 10 Milwaukee wards with the highest concentrations of Latino voters rose 25 percent over 2010. They went with the candidates favored by Voces.

What courts do next year with the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive actions could prove to be a major factor in the 2016 presidential election, said Neumann-Ortiz. If the president’s order is upheld, there will be a lot of goodwill toward Democrats among Latino voters.

Many people credit the president’s enormous success with Latino voters in 2012 to his adoption of the DACA policy that year. The policy gave work authorization to undocumented immigrants who came to the country before they were 16 and before July 2007, who were between 16 and 30 years of age, who had completed high school or received a GED and who had no criminal record.

Whatever ideology Libre plans to use to win Latino voters, nothing can compare with a progressive stance on immigration. Sixty-five percent of Latinos living in the United States have an undocumented relative living here as well.

“Immigration is a very important issue because it’s personal — it affects family, friends and neighbors,” Neumann-Ortiz says.

With the GOP’s current hardline stance on immigration, that should make her job easier, no matter what Libre does.

Coalition rallies for Milwaukee ID card

A coalition on Nov. 2 rallied in support of a Milwaukee County budget amendment to create a work group to produce a Milwaukee ID card.

After the rally, about 20 people spoke in support of Milwaukee IDs during a hearing held by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

The ID would be available through a partnership between the city and the county.

The budget amendment creating a work group to produce the card passed the county board’s finance committee in late October and will come to a full vote before the county board on Nov. 9. Last week, the public safety committee of the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously backed legislation to include the program in the city’s budget, which was to be voted upon on Nov. 3.

Speakers at the rally included County Supervisors Khalif Rainey, Peggy Romo-West and Marina Dimitrijevic, transgender community members, undocumented immigrants, family members of incarcerated people, and representatives of St. Ben’s Community Meal Program.

“This is about is about giving everyone an opportunity to be included in society,” said Rainey. “You shouldn’t be a member of our community and go to the hospital and not be able to get the services you need. That’s why I’m standing with you in solidarity in support of local ID.”

“I need to have a way to identify myself, to show who I am,” said Guadalupe Romero, a member of Voces de la Frontera. “One of my sons broke his back in a work accident, and had to have a metal bar placed in his spine. You can imagine the pain he was in. The doctors gave him a prescription for pain medicine, but because he didn’t have a government-issued ID card the pharmacist would not give it to him.

“A little while later our pet dog got sick,” continued Romero. When we took him to the veterinarian, we were able to obtain medicine for the dog immediately, and I ask, why? Does my son not have more value than an animal?”

“In many cases, a lack of a government-issued ID is a barrier to domestic violence victims who are attempting to escape abusers,” said Tony Gibart, public policy director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “First, court documents, such as petitions for divorce, must be notarized, and notaries usually require the presentation of a government-issued ID. Second, applications for federal immigration protections for undocumented victims of domestic violence and their children require possessing a government-issued ID. Providing the opportunity for people to easily obtain a local ID would address these problems.”

“I had to deal through years of shame, and still continue to be shamed for simply declaring: this is who I am,” said transgender woman Livia Rowell-Ortiz. “When I leave my house I am making a conscious decision that I am placing myself in active danger — that it is likely that I be harassed increasingly depending on how visible I am that day, to the extent of fearing going outside at all. It is my hope that this local ID will pass and start the process of ending this shaming with the protection of the county and city of Milwaukee for myself and other transgender persons.”

“We have homeless at St. Ben’s who constantly come to the doors saying they need help in trying to get an ID,” said Br. Rob Roemer, OFM Cap, director of St. Ben’s Community Meal Program. “Often they cannot get their birth certificate that is required to get a State ID. We encourage the county to start offering other forms of ID’s that help the homeless and poor to get the jobs and help they need to get out of their situations.”

The coalition supporting local IDs for Milwaukee includes St. Ben’s Community Meal, Project Return, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and Voces de la Frontera.

Cranes’ fall migration to begin in Wisconsin | And more news from our commuity

The whooping crane class of 2015 is ready for its next big adventure. For the first time in their young lives, a new generation of cranes will learn to fly to their wintering grounds in the central and southeastern United States. It’s another crucial step in efforts to re-establish a migratory population in the eastern half of North America.

Hatched and raised in a variety of settings to increase cranes’ overall chances for survival, the whoopers also will reach their destinations in a variety of ways.

For instance, six young cranes hatched earlier this year are at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake and Marquette County, where they are training to fly behind an Operation Migration ultralight aircraft. That flight will start late this month and is expected to take as many as 16 weeks.

And eight young cranes hatched in captivity earlier this year will be released at Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in October to mingle with and hopefully make the migration south with adult whooping cranes.

“We’ve achieved a lot of milestones with the class of 2015 and are hopeful these young birds can make it safely to their wintering grounds and help us build the flock,” said Davin Lopez, a conservation biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, one of the partners in the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

For more, go to bringbackthecranes.org.

In other community news …

• DAY OF THE DEAD GALA: Voces de la Frontera’s annual gala is on Oct. 30 at the Hyatt Regency, 333 W. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee. The Dia De Los Muertos Gala features a keynote speech by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Chicago and leader for comprehensive immigration reform. For more, go to vdlf.org.

• WEDDING EXPO: The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce holds its second annual Wisconsin LGBT Wedding Expo 11 a.m.–2 p.m. on Nov. 8, at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. The expo will feature representatives for wedding venues, travel planners, musical entertainment, caterers and more. In 2014, the expo drew 54 vendors to talk with more than 250 attendees. Go to www.wislgbtchamber.com and click on “events” for more information.

• RIVER WORKS: ArtWorks for Milwaukee’s annual Night by the River benefit is set for Oct. 23 and features an alumni art competition and auction. For more information about the Milwaukee event, email

REVOLUTIONARY MEDICINE: Dr. Luther Castillo will speak at the premiere of the new film Revolutionary Medicine, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 27, at Central United Methodist Church, 25th St. and Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee. Castillo will speak about developing a community-run medical system for the Afro-indigenous Garifuna people of Honduras. To see the film’s trailer, go to www.wicuba.org. For more about the event, call 414-273-1040. The showing is sponsored by the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba and Latin American Solidarity Committee.

CULTIVATED AND CULTURED: Sauk County celebrates live culture, farming and fermentation during Fermentation Fest Oct. 2–11 in Reedsburg. The celebration includes Farm/Art DTour, a self-guided ride through working farmland. For more, go to fermentationfest.com.

CREATING CHANGE IN CHICAGO: Creating Change, the nation’s largest and oldest LGBT conference, is in Chicago in 2016. Early registration for the Jan. 20–24 conference is at creatingchange.org.

WEED OUT: Volunteers gather on Oct. 3 and Nov. 1 to remove invasive plants from Big Bay Park in Whitefish Bay and Grant Park in South Milwaukee. The events are part of the Fall Weed-Out schedule promoted by “The Park People.” For more, go to milwaukeeenvironmentalconsortium.org.

• FILM FEST: The sixth annual Eau Queer Film Festival, an LGBT film festival produced by students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is Sept. 30–Oct. 4 at the Woodland Theater in the Davies Student Center. The director of the opening night film, Sharon Shattuck, will attend. The festival features first-run LGBT films — and admission is free. For more, email

— from WiG reports

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