After numerous media outlets announced Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States, two different events occurred at separate wings of the Wisconsin State Capitol on Nov. 7 — one celebrating Biden’s victory and another supporting incumbent President Donald Trump.
A small group rallied for Trump on the West Washington side of the Capitol, holding “Trump 2020” flags and chanting “U-S-A.”
On the other side, facing State St, a much larger group gathered to celebrate the victory of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. As speakers blared music, the group danced and chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter.”
Black Umbrella representative Tatiana Benson said Trump’s rhetoric upholds white supremacy.
“I voted for Biden because Trump got on national television and asked Black people what we had to live for, what we had to lose,” Benson said. “He said half our youth are incarcerated … he has also been slowly dismantling civil rights.”
She also said Biden has apologized for past decisions he’s been a part of that may have impacted Black communities and said he would try to fix the problems he helped create.
Benson said this rally embodies community members hoping for a better tomorrow.
“To support Trump, you have to be a white supremacist, whether you’re white or not,” Benson said.
Friday, Nov. 6, the day before Biden’s confimation as VP-elect, the BIPOC Coalition at UW organized a counter-protest against a pro-Trump rally alleging voter fraud. During the event, a pro-Trump motorcyclist proceeded to run into four protesters during the event at the Capitol.
According to the University of Wisconsin student and Associated Students of Madison Chair Matthew Mitnick, the motorcyclist has been identified as Rich Yaeger, a UW employee who has a leadership position at a campus power plant.
“You have a university employee running over students and this is another example of UW not taking action,” Mitnick said. “He needs to be placed on leave and fired immediately … It’s really awful that that happened, and it shows that Trump people and the right will resort to these tactics to oppress people.”
On Instagram, in the comments of @BIPOCatWisco’s page, UW said they are aware of the incident and have shared information about the incident with the Office of Human Resources.
Mitnick said today’s event was a party for all those who have been working for Biden’s election to the White House, to defund the police, fight voter suppression and expose the corruption from the university to the federal level.
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At the end of the event, some participants made their way to the Trump rally, chanting “Trump is a liar!” After a very brief clash, patrol officers at the Capitol intervened, and a small group of Trump supporters left.
“Fighting each other is not helping at all,” a woman wearing a ‘Make American Great Again’ hat and hoodie said.
Both sides engaged in dialogue, and a man with at least two visible firearms, wearing a pro-Biden badge was spotted at the scene.
Cars blocking W. Mifflin St. resulted in some traffic and officers intervened to redirect passing cars to a different street. Many cars held “Biden-Harris 2020” signs and played “Fuck Donald Trump” on high volume.
“Our Black is powerful and encompassing of all things dark and lovely. Your white is … engulfed in fear and envy,” Benson said. “The illusion of superiority you’ve created ties rope around my hands and legs — just as the creation of whiteness tied rope around my grandparents’ neck … from dust to dust, tomorrow you fall — from ashes to freedom, when the sun rises, so will our kingdom.”