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Voces De La Frontera Action To March For Immigrant Workers On May Day

Members of Voces de la Frontera Action
Voces de la Frontera Action
The Madison chapter of Voces de la Frontera Action stands at the Wisconsin State Capitol to rally ahead of May Day.

On Saturday, Voces de la Frontera Action, a sister organization of Voces de la Frontera — the largest immigrant advocacy group in the state — will hold a rally outside its office on Historic Mitchell Street in Milwaukee before marching downtown to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s office.

For years now May 1 has been known as May Day, a day when people across the country gather to celebrate Latin workers. Voces de la Frontera Action will be honoring the contributions made by Latin immigrants who have been essential workers during the pandemic, as well as advocating for citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Alejandra Gonzalez is the youth organizing statewide director at Voces de la Frontera. She says young people in the organization worked hard to turn Wisconsin into a blue state during the election.

After 100 days in office, the group's hope was that President Joe Biden would work to legalize undocumented immigrants in the United States. While Gonzalez says there has been some progress, they want to keep the Biden administration accountable for the promises it made.

"I'm really tired of being used as a pawn piece,” says Gonzalez. “You have these politicians making these promises, and then folks go out and do the work and then they never follow through. They're not true champions for the immigrant community. They are just saying what they need to say to get elected, and frankly I’m tired of it.”

While Gonzalez says it may take some time for Biden’s administration to deliver on its promises, she’d like to see more paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and have them included in the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package by the end of the year.

"I don't think that we should rest. I think that a lot of people are just feeling comfortable again, and we need to recognize that the fight for racial equality, for class equality still continues,” she says. “There's still systems in place that keep people down, and we can't stay silent. We need to continue to put pressure on every politician.”

While Gonzalez says Voces de la Frontera Action will still be calling on people to come out and show their support for immigrants workers, things will look a little bit different this year. Usually, she says, members of Voces de la Frontera have made their presence known by boycotting certain businesses, but because of the pandemic they won’t be doing that this year.

"We recognize that businesses have been hurt financially by the pandemic and we usually call for a boycott. We've been really successful in that in the past by showing our economic power,” Gonzalez said. "We're not doing that this year because we recognize the financial difficulties that individuals have gone through, but we are still asking for people to stand by us to show that we still have power in this country.”

The demonstration in Milwaukee is part of a national day of action. Voces de la Frontera Action will also partner with the Milwaukee Health Department to provide COVID-19 vaccinations without requiring a government ID.

In 2021, Simone Cazares was WUWM's Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She later became a WUWM reporter.
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