Letter to the editor
Protests rage in Madison
February 17, 2011
It was not easy to wake up and make the 5 a.m. bus to Madison Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, for the Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill protest. I was anticipating a relatively small crowd, but to my surprise, the capitol square was brought to life. All around me, the atmosphere was charged with passionate chants and friendly strangers. The people voiced their concerns over rights that were not only union, but also human; rights that this bill does not support. Many showed their disappointment for threatening of the unions’ power for collective bargaining.
“WE’VE HAD ENOUGH… WE SAY NO. No to unilateral deunionization of the state and its teachers, trash collectors, librarians, nurses and the workers who have devoted themselves to public jobs,” read Sandy’s poster as she played the cowbells. As people carried their signs and synchronized their chants, the crowd grew to tens of thousands.
“If people in Egypt my age can go out and risk their lives for freedom, the least I could do is … come out there and fight the bill,” said Miriam, a history major at the UW-Madison. Christopher, another protester affiliated with the local 48 (AFSCME) out of Milwaukee working maintenance for the Shorewood school district, mentioned that the middle class is getting the short end of the stick on this bill. He feels that this will affect people who take care of our school districts.
Ms. Johnson , a licensed childcare provider from Milwaukee and an affiliate of (local 502), spoke about how this could impact children. “We become their second family,” she tells the crowd via the loudspeaker. “A public employee’s job is so much more than being a part of a union… We are your community.”
As I was leaving Madison, I read a sign that read “Walker is no Jedi”, and it made me smile.