- Posted March 12, 2012 by
Team iReport featured this story
Thousands Converge on Madison to “Reclaim Wisconsin”
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Organizers of the “Reclaim Wisconsin March” estimated the crowds were closer to 60,000, while the Wisconsin DOA estimated the total at 35,000. While the crowds were not as large as the 200,000 seen at the March 12th protest of last year, the Capitol grounds on this day were a sea of moving color, protesters, and music. The marchers included both union and non-union workers, and families, providing a wide and clear snapshot of ordinary Wisconsinites. Creative anti-Walker posters and buttons were everywhere. Between the passionate speeches and the Solidary Singers belting out anti-Walker songs, the atmosphere was energizing and optimistic. In talking to nurses, firefighters, social workers and teachers, it was clear the recall momentum is still going strong. There were no reported arrests.
Speakers included Phil Neuenfeldt, President of Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO, Lori Compas-organizer of the Senator Scott Fitzgerald’s recall effort, Senator Jennifer Shilling [D]who defeated Dan Kapanke [R] in an earlier recall election, Malon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin Firefighters Union, and John Nichols, writer and Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine.
Malon Mitchel, a potential recall candidate for Lieutenant Governor, gave an impassioned speech saying, “This is something bigger than me, it is about justice, and this is about history, and I guarantee you when this is all said and done, we will be on the right side of justice, and we will be on the right side of history.”
The protest also brought international attention to the day’s event. John Nichols took a moment to remind the crowd during Madison March 2011 protest, Japan was being hit by the tragic tsunami and nuclear disaster. He continued by saying as we said a prayer for the people of Japan, “we never lose sight for the rest of the world.” Nichols went on to read an e-mail from Japan’s Trade Union Federation, which said, “We send our greetings to the Reclaim Wisconsin rally. We are watching you….we are following what you are doing because you are giving us the courage to rise up here in Japan and stand for worker’s rights.”
Nichols closed out the rally by quoting, Robert La Follette, Wisconsin Governor from 1901-1906, “Democracy is a life, it is not an event, it is not something you go and see, it is something you participate in every day. Democracy is a life, and Wisconsin is living it!”
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has requested June 12th for an anticipated recall election of Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.