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Letter to the editor

Students experience the Madison protests

March 3, 2011

For the past two weeks, the people of Wisconsin have occupied the State Capitol in Madison. During this time they have been rallying in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed Budget Repair Bill that, if passed as-is, would (among other things) end the collective bargaining rights enjoyed by our state employees. With that said, this is not about Scott Walker, our state legislators, or their policies. These words are about people from all walks of life coming together. Not only Wisconsin residents, but also travelers from across this great nation (and kind messages sent from abroad), coming together under one roof and showing unity in their fight for civil liberties and human rights.

After being fortunate enough to spend six days and three overnights rallying side-by-side with other protesters, they were quickly transformed from fellow protesters to friends and family, there were many moments when the capitol felt as if was a great celebration. Better than Christmas, the community centered in Mifflin Square offers gifts of hope, faith, trust, communion, understanding, and peaceful power. The celebration, not thanks to the hefty bill that is attempting to push through, is a reminder of the simple harmony that happens as the result of a cooperative humanity. The food was bountiful, for the first ten days anyway, and the company lively and ready to lend any kind of support. The atmosphere included a center drum circle, groups organizing events throughout the day, and children making new friends in the first floor north. There was no complaint of theft, major disputes, or general disrespect amongst the gatherers. The capitol, though grand in size, allows for daily reunions of people previously met, often re-welcomed with a smile, hug, handshake, and the latest updates on the protest and the trial. Save sleeping on marble floors, this is indeed an environment most wish to live in.
Even the police force seems to good to be true as all are welcoming with smiles and kind words. Several law enforcement officials thanked Michaela and the other volunteer clean-up crewmembers only after first inquiring why they felt the need to scrub down the capitol. Many off-duty police even stayed overnight Saturday, Feb. 26, allowing for even more Madison families to feel entirely rest-assured about heading to the capitol for the largest sleep-in Wisconsin has ever seen.

Looking down upon the capitol from the third floor, there is an amazing sight to be seen, people from all walks of life represented, respected, and pleased at the unity formed in this unique capitol-community. It is a truly amazing experience to be a part of ad never before had either of seen a well-executed, peaceful and effective protest.  We encourage everyone who is in opposition of Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill to go to Madison and be a part of history. If you cannot make it to Madison, you can still make your voice heard. Call and email your state representatives, write editorials, talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, make signs and rally, etc.

Of course having a political opinion is an important part of being a voting adult, but the most important value that the community formed at the capital has taught its partakers is unity through humanity. We are all as one, were are all in union.

Jordan Kocak and Michaela Toth
students