Tuesday, around 100 protesters gathered at the Capitol and marched down State Street to demand the City of Madison and the University of Wisconsin take action against white supremacy and police brutality.
The protest, organized by LINK. Madison, started on the grounds of the Capitol where protesters gathered to listen to speakers and raise awareness in the community. LINK. organizers spoke about their demands — including the release of community activists arrested by MPD, defunding and abolishing MPD and UWPD and the conviction of officer Matt Kenney, who shot and killed unarmed Tony Robinson in Madison in 2015.
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LINK. organizers also called for justice for Althea Berstein, a Madison woman who suffered third degree burns when four men attacked her at a traffic stop, and Alize Carter, who was hit by a truck that drove through a crowd in June.
Additionally, LINK. organizers demanded UW remove the Abraham Lincoln statue on Bascom Hill and Chamberlin Rock from campus and that UW have a ‘moral restart’ instead of the Smart Restart reopening plan for the semester.
LINK. organizer Penelope spoke about LINK.’s demand for the City of Madison to make housing a human right.
“I know you walk down State Street … and see those sleeping bags lined up out here every day of the year,” Penelope said. “Madison is violating these people’s human rights every single day. So we demand that the City of Madison houses every single child, every single woman and every single man experiencing homelessness.”
After the speakers, protesters then marched down State Street chanting “Wake up Madison” and “We’re still here” and encouraging passersby to join the march. LINK. set up speakers between Urban Outfitters and Potbelly’s.
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One organizer asked white allies at the protest to end the cycle of violent or racist behavior they witness in their lives.
“A lot of you have the privilege of being white people,” the organizer said. “You’re going to get taken seriously when you challenge somebody. A lot of you have the privilege of being able to walk around and engage in discourse without being perceived as threatening.”
Organizers opened the mic to anyone who wanted to speak, and one activist asked protesters to contact the Kenosha City Attorney to demand justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by KPD while they responded to a domestic incident.
The crowd dispersed by 4:00 p.m. and organizers asked people to join them again at the Capitol at noon the next day.