In the spirit of Dr. King, recall activists make history

Over 1 million signatures are turned in to force recall against Walker

By Lynda Jones, Editor

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Justice Rally and March took place on Monday, Jan. 16th at St. Francis of Assisi Church. The event began with a program at the church featuring area speakers. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

What a way to channel the spirit of the man who dedicated his life in fighting injustices, recall efforts successfully turned in over one million signatures to officially begin the process to recall. Recall activists have surpassed all signature gathering goals and will turn in enough signatures to trigger special recall elections for Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Sen. Pam Galloway, Sen. Terry Moulton, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Sen. Van Wanggaard.

From the efforts of thousands of volunteers, grassroot organizations and union members history was made in Wisconsin. It must also be noted that Governor Walker received a total of 1,128,941 votes, 52.2 percent and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett received 1,004, 303 votes, 46.48 percent according to JSonline final vote totals, when he won the governor’s seat on Nov. 2, 2010, not a landslide to begin with. And Walker reportedly spent over $11 million on the governor’s race.

Recall volunteers endured attacks, both physical and verbal during the entire time that they stood out in the rain, cold and snow. Not once did Governor Walker or any other Republican legislators come out and publicly denounce the abusive behavior that these “Walker supporters” perpetrated against these activists. Not once did the Governor’s office ask for these attacks being committed in his name to stop.

The March ended at the statue of Dr. King on King Drive in Milwaukee, with an open mic opportunity for marches to speak about what Dr. King stood for and meant to them. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Wasn’t it Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who denounced violence, even when people who believed that they were defending Dr. King and the cause by wanting to physically fight back? Wasn’t it also Dr. King who fought for worker’s rights, voters rights and against poverty? Governor Walker’s administration has directly assaulted all three of these causes.

Most of the public rhetoric has surrounded the attack on collective bargaining by the Walker administration, but for the African American and other minority communities the killing of the high speed rail project, new voter ID laws and continued lack of job creation has had more of a disastrous effect on minorities, the poor, working and middle class. But it took the collective efforts of these communities and union workers to spark this effort.

“For sixty days union and community members have organized at union halls, grocery stores and bowling allies around the state to recall Scott Walker and those who walk in lock-step with his extreme and dangerous agenda,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary- Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Last February, when Gov. Walker announced his plan to bust public sector unions and the middle class, a spark was lit and the people of Wisconsin began to take notice of Gov. Walker’s real agenda. This is a governor who crippled the rights of workers, raised taxes on the poor, compromised our children’s education and made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote. The signs are clear, his agenda is not working and the people of Wisconsin won’t stand for two more years of Gov. Walker.”

Tammy Baldwin, candidate for U.S. Senate released the following statement regarding the submission of 1 million signatures to recall Gov. Walker:

“In the surest sign yet of Wisconsin’s buyer’s remorse over the extreme Tea Party agenda, today more than 1 million signatures were submitted to hold Gov. Scott Walker accountable for his radical policies that have divided our state like never before. The people want honest leadership that puts the middle class, working families and our shared Wisconsin values first — not the conservative special interests and overreaching Tea Party fringe. I am ready to work to help elect that honest leadership in the upcoming recall campaign.”

Now that the first stage of the process is completed, Wisconsinites are gearing up for a huge fight ahead. The republicans and the Walker administration will pull out as many tricks as they can. There will be tons of money pouring into the pockets of these legislators, and most of it will be outside interest money. Why? Because the nation is watching… remember there is a reason Madison, Wisconsin was called “Ground Zero” when the protests began sparked by Walker’s agenda. All eyes are on Wisconsin…and so far the thousands of recall activists, union members, and over 1 million citizens who signed the recall petitions are doing Wisconsin proud in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,… don’t give up. Remember that it took more than a year of a bus boycott in Alabama before the laws changed for African Americans to have the right to sit where they wanted on the public buses.