Category Archives: News

Milwaukee Could Be Ferguson

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These statistical info graphics were released this week by the coalition Schools and Communities United.

These statistical info graphics were released this week by the coalition Schools and Communities United.

The New Jim Crow has replaced the Old Jim Crow in cities like Milwaukee, neighborhoods like Ferguson, and pretty much every other part of our country. Like Ferguson, Milwaukee has had its share of young black men whose lives have been extinguished simply because of the color of their skin. Milwaukee may not be seeing the protests and unrest that are rocking Ferguson, but with the horrible statistics illustrated in the infographic above, and a growing number of unresolved deaths of unarmed youth in the city, the tinder is certainly there.

Red Arrow Oark Occupied

 

This past Sunday, a large group met at Red Arrow Park in Milwaukee to march in support of the people of Ferguson. Present at the march were several families and relatives of young African American men killed recently in the city at the hands of the Milwaukee Police Department and citizen vigilantes. Throughout the day a few bravely came forward and told their painful personal stories.

Fighting for His Son Corey

 

One of those to speak was Craig Stingley. Craig expressed his outage at attending these same marches over and over again without ever getting any results. In 2013, a cashier at a corner store caught his son, Corey, trying to shoplift. When confronted by the clerk, the young African American man got scared, dropped the merchandise and tried to leave, but was forcibly detained by three White men, Jesse Cole, Robert Berringer and Mario Lauman. They put Corey in a chokehold and forced him to the ground. Even when he started foaming at the mouth and stopped struggling, the three men did not release him.

Mr. Stingley Speaks

 

By the time the police arrived, Corey was dead. The cause of death was anoxic encephalopathy, or brain damage caused by lack of oxygen. The entire incident was caught on store camera, and the death was ruled a homicide by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.

End Police Brutality

 

It sounds like an open-and-shut case, right? However, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm decided not to charge the three killers with any crime. The injustice of this decision is clear and in many cases would be enough to spark massive protest like in Ferguson, but in Milwaukee, sadly, the story goes on.

Marching Downtown

 

After several speakers the march left Red Arrow Park and headed through the streets of downtown Milwaukee en route to the Milwaukee Police Administration building for another rally an additional speakers.

No Justice

Police Watch Rally

Once at the doors of MPD administration, another speaker took the bullhorn. Nathaniel Hamilton spoke about the recent killing of his brother Dontre at the hands of a Milwaukee Police officer. Dontre was waiting for his brother to pick him up at Red Arrow Park when he was approached by an MPD officer for a second time for doing nothing illegal, but this time the interaction led to a struggle between Dontre and the officer. During the struggle, Dontre ended up holding the officer’s baton. Dontre defensively was backing away and was a good distance away from the officer when the officer inexplicably fired 15 fatal shots at Dontre, killing him instantly.

Knocking on the Doors of MPD

Listening to Speakers

 

After about 45 minutes, the march left the Police Administration building and continued on their charted route. They walked past the ritzy Wisconsin Center, where several partygoers watched as the group noisily moved by shouting for justice and systematic change. One thing the protests in Ferguson have shown is that many Americans are being driven to disrupt business as usual, and those in power better start taking notice.

Marching Past Wisconsin Club

 

The group immediately marched beyond the planned march route. Rather than turning on Wisconsin Avenue turn, the group made the collective decision to escalate the action. A nearby freeway off-ramp provided the closest opportunity for peaceful civil disobedience. Marchers moved into place and locked hands blocking traffic exiting I-43 downtown.

Making Way to Freeway Ramp

Protestors Block Freeway Ramp

Celebrating Shutdown

 

Protestors laid several signs on the crosswalk in front of their blockade. One of the signs depicted many faces of other unarmed black men and women who had their life taken away from them simply because they were black in America.

Signs Laid Out on Street

Poster of Unarmed Yet Killed Victims

 

The Milwaukee County Sheriffs Department eventually showed up and had to divert traffic away from the off-ramp and back up the ramp onto the freeway. Protestors made sure to speak with passengers in the cars stuck in the blockade to educate them about the protest.  Most of the motorists were quite supportive and perfectly willing to wait out the action in the name of solidarity.

Explaining Our Actions to Supportive Cars

 

Final Cars Are Removed

 

After every last car was redirected back up the ramp and onto the freeway, the group celebrated their demonstrated power and reflected on their ability to engage in future larger actions to shake the system for change. After the brief celebration, the blockade was dissolved and the march moved back on its originally chartered course.

Family Marching for Justice

 

When the group reached the busy intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street they again decided to flex their civil disobedience muscles. Everyone present held hands in a large circle around Craig Stingley, who used this highly visible pulpit to once again tell the tragic story of his son Corey’s murder to those who had gathered to view the spectacle.

Hands Held for Justice

Circle of Solidarity

 

 

Finally the march came full circle to Red Arrow Park, where the families of Corey Stingley and Dontre Hamilton were joined by the remaining group in a final prayer. Everyone present placed a hand on another’s shoulder and bowed their heads – pledging to not let the struggle for justice in Milwaukee die.

 

Protestors will again meet at the same location next Friday, August 22nd at 4:00, to keep the pressure on.

Family Marches Towards City Hall

 

Pledging to Fight On
We Will Continue the Fight

Milwaukee may not have the kind of protests that have taken place in Ferguson, but that doesn’t mean the fight back hasn’t begun.

Demanding Justice For Victims of Police and Vigilante Violence in Milwaukee from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

More photos from the Sunday march can be found here.

Shining Solidarity with the People of Ferguson

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Vigils in remembrance of murdered Missouri teen Michael Brown took place across the country Thursday night in a nationally coordinated night of action called the National Moment of Silence 2014 (#NMOS14). The Light Brigade Network joined in standing in solidarity with the people of Ferguson.

The biggest action in support of Ferguson happened in New York City. Union Square was packed with protestors , including a group of men from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity who surprised the crowd with their illuminated message.

 

In Milwaukee, the Overpass Light Brigade wanted to make a public statement decrying Brown’s death and the Ferguson Police’s response. OLB chose a pedestrian overpass bridge that crossed over an I-43 streaming with traffic. So many holders showed up the group held messages on both sides of the bridge.

Message Reflects on Traffic

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

#Ferguson From Afar Street Message

More photos from the Overpass Light Brigade can be found here.

Have Bria Grant Campaign Signs Showed Up in Your Yard?

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Is there anyone else who has had a campaign sign mysteriously show up in their yard for public school privatization advocate Bria Grant? Does Bria Grant know she’s not supposed to be placing campaign signs on people’s property without first obtaining permission or is she doing it on purpose?

 

 

If one has showed up in your yard without your permission take a photo and message us and we’ll add it this post.

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.