Tag Archives: Milwaukee

Crashing An Anti-Immigration Overpass Protest in Milwaukee

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Milwaukee, WI - Perhaps those planning anti-immigration overpass protests around the nation should have thought about the fact that the majority of Americans do not support their hate. In Milwaukee they had to find out the hard way.

When I arrived at the original overpass bridge chosen for the Saturday protest I immediately found that it was closed for construction. Counter protestors were already milling about wondering if the protest would be cancelled, as there were no protestors to be seen. The gathered counter protestors collectively decided to change course and simply walk to the nearest busy street corner and hold signs, which they did for about 20 minutes when word came that Anti-immigration protestors were spotted on a different bridge a quarter mile away. Everyone immediately made the move to the new location.

When I pulled up to the Howard Avenue overpass bridge there was a group of about 7 (6 on one side of the street and 1 on the other) holding “No Amnesty” and “Defend Our Borders” signs to traffic passing underneath. Counter protestors had already begun to arrive filling the opposite side of the bridge quickly outnumbering the few protestors present.

Photo credit: C.M. DeSpears

Photo credit: C.M. DeSpears

Once the opposite side of the bridge filled, several counter protests began making their way to the opposite side of the overpass strategically positioning their “Mr President: Stop the Deportations” banner immediately next to the protestors effectively co-opting the original thrust of the  action.

One of the child migrant protestors, upset over the counter protestors’ actions told them to leave his side of the bridge whining that, “they were there first”. The video embedded below captures one of the proud counter protestor’s response.

Pro-immigration groups ended up outnumbering the anti-immigration demonstrators by about 5-to-1, drowning out their hate and sending a message that Wisconsin welcomes immigrant children and rejects the hate of those stalking and harassing migrant children. Apparently the same thing happened on an overpass in Philly. If these so-called “patriots” continue to meet this kind of reaction from everyday Americans perhaps they might think twice about displaying their hate in public for all to see.

Crashing An Anti-Immigration Overpass Protest from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Wisconsin Working Hard to Get Money Out of Politics

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“We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

- Move to Amend website

Milwaukee, WI - Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations were people and money was a form of free speech in the 2010 Citizens United decision, big moneyed interests have hijacked our democracy. Groups like Move to Amend have been organizing around the country against the ruling, but nowhere is the resistance greater than Milwaukee.

Move to Amend has been working to get referendums on ballots across the country declaring opposition to the controversial decision. Nowhere has that fight be as successful as in Milwaukee and around the state of Wisconsin, where 42 different resolutions and referendums have been passed. The victories come despite the best efforts of elected officials like Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Milwaukee County residents have tried several times to get a referendum on the ballot, but those efforts have been nixed by Abele, but finally in May the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors overrode his veto clearing the way for a November non-binding referendum that says:

(ITEM ) A resolution by Supervisors Weishan, Jr., Broderick, Johnson, Jr., and Rainey providing for an advisory referendum on the November 4, 2014, election ballot on whether the United States Constitution should be amended to establish that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech, by recommending adoption of the following:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution acknowledges the rights that every person deserves, and it guarantees those rights to the people of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, in delineating the rights of every person, the Framers did not state that any of the rights of persons are also rights of corporations, nor do the United States Constitution and its amendments use the word “corporation” even once; and

WHEREAS, acceptance by the courts of the doctrines of corporate personhood and the equivalence of money and speech has enabled corporations to spend money in much greater amounts than the vast majority of living human beings to influence political and governmental decisions and the results of elections; and

WHEREAS, by enabling candidates and their supporters to raise unprecedented amounts of corporate money, the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, in effect, requires constant fundraising by candidates, diverting their attention away from the interests and needs of people they would represent; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens United decision has allowed and will allow unprecedented amounts of money contributed by corporations and other wealthy donors to influence the American political process, posing a direct threat to our democracy and feeding a growing movement toward a plutocracy by influencing candidate selection, election results, votes by public officials, and policy decisions while diluting the power of individuals as active, voting citizens; and

WHEREAS, when accorded the rights of human persons, large corporations and other wealthy groups have greatly exceeded less affluent human persons in political influence, resulting in elections, laws, and government policies that enable the corporations to carry on activities detrimental to the wellbeing of human persons; and

WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that undermine our democracy; and


Milwaukee will likely follow the footsteps of other communities around the nation in passing, by a wide margin, the November referendum and start the process of ending the richest take all politics climate we currently have. It’s time to put our democracy back in the hands of the people.


This action and others like it are taking place all week around the nation in part of a series of creative protests called the “Rolling Rebellion for Real Democracy”. Check to see if an action is taking place near you.

Overpass Light Brigade Rolling Rebellion actions in Milwaukee and Madison this week.

Overpass Light Brigade Rolling Rebellion actions in Milwaukee and Madison this week.

Milwaukee Protestors Disrupt ICE Deportation Raids

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Milwaukee, WI - In a series of recent raids, Milwaukee Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents in cooperation with Milwaukee Police have rounded up dozens of undocumented Milwaukeeans, leaving many families broken. Protestors claim they have organized rallies and marches, made phone calls, and have written letters to politicians to try and seek a solution without success. That left them with one remaining option. If ICE wasn’t willing to stop the raids, then they would stop the raids themselves.

Protestors chained themselves together in protective lockboxes and laid down in front of three different ICE Office garage doors preventing vans from getting out to make their runs for the day.

The MPD issued three different warnings to protestors to remove themselves or face arrest, but each time they refused. No one was ever arrested and after about three hours, the protestors claimed victory, successfully shutting down the vans for at least one day.

Unfortunately, protestors can’t block the vans everyday, but will need immigration reform in order for the vans to remain permanently parked. Call or contact your local elected officials and tell them #Not1More deportation until the broken immigration system is fixed.

Lighted message and photo courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Lighted message and photo courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Wisconsin Stands with World Cup Protestors

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Shorewood, WI - Members of the Overpass Light Brigade held a lighted message on the athletic field of Shorewood High School last night in support of the growing protests against the world organizing body of the the World Cup, FIFA.


The International Federation of Association Football has long been under fire for rampant corruption and the dictatorial administration of the World Cup tournament. A tournament that has come at a hefty $15 billion dollar price tag for the Brazilian people which whom its poorest people still have no access to clean water. The government has erected massive soccer stadiums and hotels while schools and hospitals are in shambles. All to please FIFA and bring the World Cup to Brazil, but the people are fighting back and protesting everyday even though you wouldn’t know it through the lens or filter of the corporate controlled media. That’s why this group of concerned Wisconsinites held their message high for the world to see.

Meme courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Meme courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade.

Wisconsin Celebrates and Supports Gay Marriage Victory

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The people of Wisconsin received a welcome surprise on Friday afternoon when they learned a federal judge overturned a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

“I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples interfere with plaintiffs’ right to marry, in violation of the due process clause, and discriminate against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the (Constitution’s) equal protection clause,”

- U.S. Federal Judge Barbara Crabb

The news prompted couples from around the state, as 283 couples descend upon courthouses in Madison and Wisconsin, creating jouyous and festive scenes that won’t soon be forgotten.

In Madison 137 couples were married during the first Friday to Saturday stretch with some receiving a surprise greeting from the Madison Police, who showed up at the Dane County Courthouse with wedding cakes Friday night in support.



In Milwaukee another 146 couples turned out to express their love for each other, but on Saturday morning many were met by three anti-marriage protestors. Several onlookers, including Khary Penebaker and his daughter Sydney, who were at the courthouse to simply “Take in the scene…”, immediately sprang into action making signs supporting the couples. They then joined several other gay marriage supporters in assuming strategic positions collectively creating a “Wall of Love”  blocking the protestors from the view of those being married.

Several couples leaving the courthouse expressed their thanks for the public service they were performing. This battle may not yet be over in Wisconsin, as Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has already started the process to halt marriages, and certainly is far from over around the country, but as Wisconsinites have clearly demonstrated over the past two days, love is love and love will surely defeat hate.

Photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade and LightBrigading on Flickr.

Photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade and LightBrigading on Flickr.