Approximately 200 members of the Madison Latino and Hispanic community attended a vigil and forum at Centro Hispano of Dane County Monday night in light of the recent election results.
As a response to President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to restrict immigrants during his first 100 days in office, Christine Neumann-Ortiz advocated building membership and alliances with other groups.
Neumann-Ortiz, the director of Voces de la Frontera, announced five core strategies as a national movement proposal. She encouraged the Latino community to build a more powerful coalition to prepare for mass scale actions like “A Day Without Latinos and Immigrants.” She also said to ally with other groups attacked by Trump, seek sanctuary with local governments and churches and report incidents of harassment and threat.
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Trump’s has pledged that he would like to cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities and remove more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country.
Neumann-Ortiz said immigrants are they will lose their jobs over Trump’s policies and rhetoric.
“We need to be prepared for the implementation of legislation and executive action towards immigrants,” Neumann-Ortiz said. “We have to make sure that a culture of intolerance won’t spread.”
Participants were also concerned about being misunderstood and discriminated under a Trump presidency.
Clara Barbosa, a Latina participant, said she worried people who heard Trump’s negative speeches toward immigrants might frame her in the same way. She said even some of her neighbors might look at her like she’s hiding something.
“We’re here to support each other — you’re not alone, I’m not alone,” Barbosa said. Whatever you need, we’re going to find an solution.”
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The forum provided a platform for people to express concerns and provide support. Local residents, church and school staff showed up to support the community.
Sal Stone, a local resident, said many people in the community do not know the degree of violence that might impact undocumented immigrants. He said there is a chance they might lose some of their rights.
Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval tried to calm some of the concerns. He said even though some changes might be made in Washington, those in Madison are committed to protect the rights of everyone.
“From the standpoint of public safety, this community is stronger when everyone’s voice is heard,” Koval said.