2009/05/01:Capital Times: People's issues follow in footsteps of immigrant workers - Immigrant Workers Union, Voces de la Frontera

People's issues follow in footsteps of immigrant workers
The Capital Times Blogs

Pat Schneider  — 

I hope the lights of the political left at The Progressive magazine's 100th anniversary conference at Monona Terrace didn't miss the democracy in the streets Friday.

Hundreds of immigrants, joined by labor rights and economic justice advocates, marched to the State Capitol then on to the City County Building to protest injustices  national and local in scope. 

Dane County  Supervisor John Hendrick announced that he'll introduce a resolution barring the disclosure of the immigration status of inmates in the jail to federal authorities, a point of sharp controversy between Sheriff Dave Mahoney and the Latino community. Homeless services providers called for a tent city to protest Madison's withdrawal of property tax exemptions for low-income housing. Bus advocates demanded a repeal of the city's recent fare hike.   

The numbers of marchers were down from the glory days of a few years ago, when Latinos demonstrated by the tens of thousands, reinvigorating the labor movement and unleashing such a backlash so severe the community leaders debated the wisdom of a march this year.

Yet people in Madison turned out, hoisting the pickets, pounding the pavement, leading the cheers on May Day, the traditional international celebration of workers rights ignored here in recent years until immigrant workers led the way.