May Day events will focus on justice for immigrants

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What to wear to the May Day march?

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) has just the thing: "Immigrants Welcome" T-shirts in Spanish and Hmong. (There are yard signs with the same message.)

Justice for immigrants is a major focus of the events Thursday in Madison and Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee event is billed as a statewide action, organized by Voces de la Frontera and endorsed by Peace Action Wisconsin.

Organizers at Voces say:

The immigrant rights movement has made great progress over the last two years in defeating some of the most anti-democratic legislative proposals in the history of this nation. All three remaining presidential candidates support some form of immigration reform. However, we face continued efforts to criminalize both employers and workers through initiatives like the Social Security No Match Letters, increased raids that tear families apart, and anti-immigrant local and state ordinances that have led to increased racial profiling, civil rights abuses, and economic damage to local communities.

Last year at least 80,000 people of all races and ages from across the state marched in Milwaukee to support civil rights for immigrants. This year we must mobilize again in massive numbers to send a clear message of the need for change.

This year's themes:

* Stop the raids and separation of families

* Just legalization

* Access to driver's licenses

* Stop Social Security No Match Letters

* Fair International Trade Agreements for Workers

* Good Jobs and Health Care for all

* End the War in Iraq

Milwaukee marchers will assemble 10:30am, S. 5th St. and Washington. March to Veterans Park on the lakefront starts at 11:30.

In Madison, an Immigrants and Labor Rights Rally will march at 11:30 from Brittingham Park to Dane County Building, where a rally will be held.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney's policies toward immigrants will be in the spotlight, the Immigrant Workers Union(IWU) says. IWU ask to the general public for support to put an end to what it calls Sheriff Mahoney's harassment of immigrants.

These new signs feature handwritten messages of "welcome" in six languages by people from many of Wisconsin's immigrant communities. The two-sided yard sign features "welcome" in Spanish and Hmong, single-sided 11x17 window signs feature either Spanish or Hmong. Yard sign: $5 plus postage, Window sign: $2 plus postage. Call (608) 250-9240 or email [email protected] to order. T-shirts are $15. Or buy them in person at WNPJ office at 122 State St. in Madison, at Brittingham Park before the Madison march, or at WNPJ table in Veterans Park at the end of Thursday's march in Milwaukee.