By Mrinal Gokhale
The rain did not stop hundreds from gathering at Red Arrow Park (920 E. Water St.) and marching to protest against President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, January 20. Many held signs and bellowed phrases such as “No Donald Trump, no KKK, no racist USA!” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!” Protestors filled the entire park area, plus the patio above the Starbucks.
The event, coordinated by the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump (MCAT), began at 5 p.m.
The point of this march was to not only voice concerns against President Trump, but also Milwaukee County Sherriff David Clarke.
Attendees used the hashtags #ConvictClarke and #MKEResistTrump to document photo and video on social media.
Maricela Aguilar, co-chair of the MCAT, stood atop the granite sculpture in front of the ice skating rink. She introduced herself as an undocumented immigrant and activist.
“We stand with immigrant communities like women, immigrants, African Americans, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans,” Aguilar said.
“The Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump, its member organizations and the broader Milwaukee community denounce the Trump administration from day one.”
She explained the other significance about this day and place.
“Today is the birthday of Dontre Hamilton,” she said. “He was sleeping here and murdered by the Milwaukee Police Department who we will hold accountable.”
Juan Perez also took the stand. He wore a black outfit, baseball hat and bandana covering his mouth. He stated that he was an undocumented immigrant and wanted to protect his identity.
“We often forget the past collectively, as we have put this person in power,” Perez said. “But it is our duty today to stop fascism in any of its forms.”
Lucero Rocha of the Young People’s Resistance Committee, a MCAT partnering organization, was also passionate about immigrant rights. “My family and I immigrated to the United States 14 years ago.
Every day, I watched my parents work so my brothers, sisters and I could have the opportunities they couldn’t.,” Rocha said. “They are tired; I am tired of worrying how my family, peers and community will be affected by Trump’s outrageous immigration policies.”
Mira Noel, a Planned Parenthood sex educator expressed her concern against the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood proposed by the Republicans in Congress.
“We want hundreds of thousands of people, many in our own state, to access birth control, STD testing and treatment, annual exams, cancer screenings and education. They need to keep themselves healthy and safe,” Noel said.
The group began marching around 6 p.m. and returned to Red Arrow Park afterward. An after party took place at Riverwest Public House.
MCAT is a network of Milwaukee social justice organizations including United Workers Organization, Industrial Workers of the World, Young People’s Resistance Committee, UBlac, Surge and many more that protest against Trump’s agenda.
Some issues the MCAT supports are LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, Palestine, the Affordable Care Act, women’s rights, and working class wages.
This march was a kick-off to the MCAT’s 100 days of resistance against President Trump’s administration.
More information can be found at MKECAT.org or via Facebook.