Protesters gathered Thursday night in front of the Dane County Public Safety Building and marched down W. Washington Ave. to protest the proposed $150 million dollar budget to build a new jail in downtown Madison.
Around 150 protesters arrived at the public safety building at 5 p.m. and organizers from LINK. Madison and Black Umbrella encouraged people to register to speak at the Dane County Board of Supervisors budget hearing meeting. Organizers said they planned to use a set of times protestors had previously signed up for to call into the meeting and express their opposition to the new jail.
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“We are going to make some noise, we’re going to let them know we are not going to have this jail,” an organizer said. “We are going to build the people, not the jail.”
Protestors blocked Doty St. in front of the Public Safety Building and chanted “Change them laws” and “Black Lives Matter” while others registered to speak.
Protesters are blocking Doty St in front of the public safety building. Organizers are asking protesters to register to speak in opposition of the Sheriff’s budget and increased funding for jails in tonight’s city council meeting at 6:00pm. @BadgerHerald pic.twitter.com/3dSawPBM0j
— Savannah (@isSavKind) September 10, 2020
After people finished signing up to speak, organizers led protesters in a march down W. Washington Ave. Protestors chanted “White silence is violence” and “No justice, no peace.”
“On the top of every one of [the Dane County Board’s] meeting agendas, they have three questions they are supposed to be asking themselves,” a protester said. “They want to know who benefits … who is burdened … [and] who has a seat at the table. If at any point they are not listening to us, we do not have a seat at the table.”
Protesters eventually stopped at the intersection of Regent St. and W. Washington Ave. and blocked traffic there as people waited for their turn to speak at the County Board meeting. Organizers continued to lead the crowd in chants and speak out about funding the community instead of building new jails.
Protesters continued to march down W. Washington Ave. back towards the County Public Safety Building around 6:45 p.m. The crowd dispersed around 7:15 p.m.
“You got all us broke people out here trying to build a community, and they’re trying to build a jail,” a protester said. “So, you can see where their priorities are.”
UPDATE: This article was updated at 10:31 p.m. to reflect a correction in the budget of the Dane County Jail, which is set at $150 million.