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RACINE — An obstruction charge costs $470.50. After 23 people were arrested on Monday for linking arms and sitting down in the intersection of Sixth and Main streets, the action will net the City of Racine more than $10,000 — but it might not cost anything for those who were cited.

A fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com set up by Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant activist group that helped plan the protest, is asking for $10,000 in donations to help pay the fines of those arrested. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the campaign had surpassed its goal by $420.

Voces, along with hundreds of students from Milwaukee and Racine, and other organizers were protesting in favor of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides protection from deportation for minors who were brought to the United States by their parents illegally.

The protest took place a half block from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Downtown Racine office.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces, also was one of those arrested.

Neumann-Ortiz said the group was not there “to challenge the police, we’re here to challenge Paul Ryan to do what’s right and to stop running away from this issue.”

“The fines that were given were pretty steep, close to $500 and that’s a lot for an organization or for any one individual to cover,” Neumann-Ortiz said. “We knew that we would ask for support from the broader community and it’s a way that people can also help the cause … it’s one way for people to contribute to the cause if they couldn’t be there that day or be part of a march.”

Candidates arrested

Two Democratic congressional candidates — Randy Bryce of Caledonia and Cathy Myers of Janesville — were also part of the group that was arrested.

Neumann-Ortiz said it was impressive to see Bryce and Myers participate in the act of civil disobedience during their campaigns.

“It’s a very bold action that is courageous,” Neumann-Ortiz said. “There’s a conservative tendency in politics, unfortunately, that often encourages candidates or elected officials to try to not take a strong stand and to just go towards the lowest common denominator.”

The protest and arrests on Monday, Neumann-Ortiz said sent a message to politicians in the state and country “about the kind of leadership we need at this time.”

“Where people are willing to forcefully stand up with the people, in this case keep families together, to give back to a future to this youth and to stand up against hate and division,” Neumann-Ortiz said. “I have tremendous respect for, especially in the political arena, for the candidates and elected officials but also for everybody else who participated in this action.”

“We knew that we would ask for support from the broader community and it’s a way that people can also help the cause … it’s one way for people to contribute to the cause if they couldn’t be there that day or be part of a march.” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of
Voces de la Frontera
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Reporter

Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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