From Wausau to Madison

Rural and Urban Wisconsinites Together 4 Justice

By Melissa Lewis, Wausau

On Wednesday morning I crammed into a van full of my Wausau neighbors and drove to Madison to participate in the “We Rise” national day of action. It was a beautiful day and an inspiring glimpse at what can happen when we all join forces against corporate power.

In Wisconsin, we have some of the worst of what corporate power has to offer. From massive budget cuts to education, to attacks on workers’ rights and families in need, to a malignant prison system that swallows the lives of young black men at a rate higher than anywhere in America. These injustices are all connected to each other. They are all designed to keep power consolidated in the hands of the wealthiest few.

The central Wisconsin farmer who works day and night shouldn’t be struggling to keep the electricity on— but he is. The Milwaukee mother who works two jobs shouldn’t need food stamps to feed her family— but she does. Though their lives are different, they are both hampered by a structure that isn’t working on their behalf. This is why rural Wisconsin and urban Wisconsin must fight for each other- to be divided is to be defeated.

No matter how hard they work, good people trying to provide for their families continually come up short. And it’s not because they aren’t working hard enough. It’s because barriers to success were built by a greedy few who rigged the game. Trying to convince us that $7.25 is a living wage is their way of keeping us living on the brink. And to distract us, they’ve been trying to pit our communities against each other. This is not right and it’s time for change. If we remember that this fight is a fight for the whole state, we will be victorious for all our families.

So on Wednesday, I was proud to be one of thousands of Wisconsinites to draw the connections between mass incarceration, and attacks on public education and labor unions. We demanded fully funded public education for every student in Wisconsin, from pre-K to college. We demanded that every working person get paid enough to care for their kids and set them off toward a great future. I hope you join the thousands of us who are united to dismantle the obstacles to fairness and justice for all.

PS. Please visit the Facebook page of our partner Wisconsin Jobs Now to find more pictures, articles, and videos from the day.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on March 15, 2015

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