Over one hundred protesters marched through downtown Madison Tuesday night, joined by local elected officials, to demand institutional change to combat racism.
The Madison youth-led group Impact Demand led the protest, which started at the Capitol, looped around to University Avenue, marched down Langdon and stopped at Memorial Library.
At Memorial Library, the gathered group heard from Michael Johnson, the President of the Dane County Boys and Girls Club.
Protesters march down State Street to protest police brutality, white supremacy at UWTuesday, around 100 protesters gathered at the Capitol and marched down State Street to demand the City of Madison and Read…
Johnson said he plans to donate $5,000 to Impact Demand’s efforts, with $10,000 coming later, and he spoke about the need to hold elected officials and community leaders accountable for their actions, the motivation behind him inviting a group of local officials to the protest.
The group included Carlton Jenkins, new superintendent of the Madison Metro School District, State Superintendent Carolyn Taylor, MMSD School Board President Gloria Reyes, Madison Common Council President Sheri Carter, Rep. Sheila Stubbs, United Way President Renee Moe and more.
Jenkins, originally from Minnesota, talked about how when the Minneapolis Police Department killed George Floyd back in May, he was only a few minutes away. He said he’s been impressed with how the young people of Madison have mobilized to fight against racism.
Protest is peacefully gathered at University and Bassett, about to move up towards State St and chant. pic.twitter.com/9t9Uo3SNHQ
— Mary Magnuson (@MaryMagnuson7) August 26, 2020
“People in my generation, we haven’t seen it like this. You guys are bringing it,” Jenkins said. “It is time for the oppression and institutional racism to come down.”
Reyes said as a former police officer, she understands the importance of acting for change. But her speech got backlash from the crowd — some yelled, “f**k 12” and “abolish the police” and others asked her why it took so long for her to take police officers out of schools.
Reyes said the changes she and others have enacted, like how over a month ago she voted to get police out of Madison Metro schools, came because of activists and community members expressing their demands.
“I took cops out of our schools, so when you peacefully protest and you demand, it works,” Reyes said. “We need to do better. Hold your elected officials accountable.”
Several protesters came down from Milwaukee to protest in Madison tonight. One, named Sedan Smith, works with a Milwaukee organization called Breaking Barriers. In 2016, a Milwaukee Police Officer named Dominique Heaggan-Brown killed Smith’s brother, Sylville Smith.
Madison-based youth organization pushes for legislative changeImpact Demand is a newly-formed organization led by Madison youth with three primary demands — community control of police, outlawing Read…
Heaggan-Brown was found not guilty of first-degree homicide, though he later went to jail for assaulting a male prostitute.
“My brother’s life will not be in vain because I chose to keep his name alive,” Smith said. “We’re not gonna ask for justice anymore … we’re gonna march for change.”
The protest later marched back up State St. to the Capitol, then to the Dane County Courthouse, where Jordan King, a local activist arrested at Monday night’s protest, was held. Some protesters threw rocks at the courthouse and broke a window, then they marched back down State St., and turned to go down University.
On University, a small splinter group lit two dumpsters on fire at the University-Bassett St. intersection and another few individuals broke the Papa John’s window, after which the protest started to break up. Organizers told those still in attendance to go home to stay safe from the police.
Madison police then showed up, some on horseback, and confronted the remaining few protesters.