(Milwaukee, WI) – Over the weekend, Voces de la Frontera Action (VDLFA) hosted a massive art build to paint the banners for the 34 Fair Immigration Rights Movement (FIRM) Network organizations that will be taking part in the “March to Victory – Relay Across America” to demand relief, recovery, and citizenship for all immigrants in the forthcoming COVID-19 reconciliation bills.
Voces de los Artistas (VDLA), the VDLFA artist collective, hosted the art build at the INOVA Gallery of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on March 5th, 6th, and 7th.. Everyone wore masks at all times and the art build was not open to the public and was kept to 25 people or less at all times, to follow COVID-19 capacity guidelines. The banners read: “Stop Deportations; Citizenship for All; COVID Recovery for All” and also include the FIRM Network graphic, the Freedom Together campaign graphic, the state organizational graphic, and a graphic of a hand holding a torch. These banners will be the “relay torch” that each state will pass during 6 weeks of national actions, in which immigration advocacy organizations across the country will put direct pressure on their state congressional representatives to vote for immigrant inclusion in the forthcoming COVID-19 reconciliation bills and a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented.
In addition to members of VDLA, members of the Voces de la Frontera Essential Workers Rights Network attended the build to help paint banners and share their stories of what inclusion in the forthcoming reconciliation bills would mean for them and their families. Alondra García (23), a DACA recipient and bilingual teacher at Allenfield Elementary, attended the art build with her younger sister and her father. She said: “My sister and I have had DACA for the past 7 years. It has been interesting because you’d think you’d get the full experience of being an American, but that is not the case. We can’t apply for loans, we can’t apply for FAFSA, we can’t vote. And with all the fear of our DACA status constantly being at risk under Trump, it was hard. Furthermore, with COVID it has been difficult to see the clear division in my own family because of immigration status: my sister and I did receive stimulus checks, but our parents did not. My parents are hard workers and they deserve relief as well — that is why I stand with Voces de la Frontera Action in demanding that all immigrants, including those who file taxes with an ITIN number, get COVID relief and that all immigrant essential workers, Dreamers, TPS holders and their families have a pathway to citizenship.”
The “March to Victory – Relay Across America” will start in the northwest corner of the country in Washington State on March 17th and will end in Washington DC on May 1st with a national May Day protest. Allied organizations who will be participating in the national caravan and May Day protest include FIRM Network organizations from the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Washington DC, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and – of course – Wisconsin. Voces de la Frontera Action will also host a statewide caravan in Wisconsin in the second half of April to put pressure on our two state senators and eight house representatives. This state caravan will commence in Kenosha, WI on April 11 and close in Milwaukee on May Day.