...and Against Sensenbrenner's HR4437
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!
I left my office today to go to what was rumored to be an Immigrant's Rights rally from Milwaukee's largely Latino South Side across the 6th Street bridge into downtown Milwaukee. As I drove up to the starting location and couldn't find a parking spot, it began to dawn on me that it could be much more than that...
Families of all ages with children in strollers were filling the side streets. As they walked they carried signs and flags (U.S. and Mexico) and a spirit I haven't seen in people's faces since I was a child of the Civil Rights movement. By the time I reached Sixth street, I was suddenly en massed by thousands and thousands of Latinos and supporters marching with pride, dignity and respect. Marching in unity. The air was filled with hope and love and justice.
This is the America I love! This is What Democracy Looks Like!!!
I quickly moved into the crowd and started over the bridge. I met a lovely man who had spent all night making meticulous hand made signs for his group of 20 employees which rightfully claimed the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as written for all in America. My limited Spanish skills and his limited English skills allowed for a broken conversation. He had closed his business and invited his employees to join him to march for their dignity and rights together...Literally hand in hand.
My new friend taught me the chants and we tried to translate them into English together and he turned to me and said, "You know, I marched for your rights 30 years ago. They are trying to do the same types of things to us and I'm so happy you are next to me marching for my rights now." I am nearly in tears again as I type this... We were instantly brother and sister.
Then he leaned over the bridge to a group of all white, male construction workers yelling up to us "Si se puede!", and asked if they would offer him a job. They all smiled, waived and the foreman yelled, "I'll hire anyone who's a good worker!" A bridge truly had been crossed...
The sun came out, the atmosphere was jubilant and as we walked arm to arm, I turned and looked back over the bridge, for as far as my eyes could see the marchers were still coming! Packed into 3 lanes on the bridge, shoulder to shoulder and tripping on strollers, the end of the march was no where in site! I looked over to my left and there sitting on a Harley, was a white male Milwaukee Police officer, grinning ear to ear as happy as any one else out there! I said "You're in a good mood!" with a big smile and he shouted back to me "Si se puede!".
I went around the corner, (taking one more look back and still not seeing the end of the march), and saw thousands who were AHEAD of me also!!! Ziedler Park is one city block square. It was jammed already with people, so as I came into the park, I did a logistics check (bad habits of activists) and went into action doing crowd control. More and more people packed into the square filling the streets, the parking ramps, the side streets and anywhere in listening range with the largest march Milwaukee's seen in more than 30 years!
I am SO proud of my city! I am so proud of the Latino community for the event they hosted today. The world must know the level of professionalism, grace and beauty with which this march and rally were planned and executed.
"No somos uno, No somos diez, No somos cien, Somos miliones!"
Sensenbrenner should take note. We stand in Unity and say: No mas!!