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DACA ends, Milwaukee residents march in protest

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DACA ends, Milwaukee residents march in protest

Milwaukeeans participate in the march to protest the announcement to end DACA.

Milwaukeeans participate in the march to protest the announcement to end DACA.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Milwaukeeans participate in the march to protest the announcement to end DACA.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Milwaukeeans participate in the march to protest the announcement to end DACA.

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Following President Trump’s announcement to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program, hundreds of Milwaukeeans gathered last Wednesday evening in Walker Square Park to protest — a call for action that would later be seen at Marquette.

The March to Defend DACA was held Sept. 6 by Young People’s Resistance Committee, calling for a path to legalization for about 11 million undocumented people in the U.S.

DACA — a program working to protect approximately 800,000 undocumented young people — was introduced in 2012, allowing them a renewable two-year time window with an issued work permit and social security number.

The marchers walked down Cesar Chavez Drive and turned on to Greenfield Avenue, some while holding signs in support of DACA. Spectators leaned out windows, cheering marchers on as they passed.

Attendees said the chant, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”

When DACA was implemented, one of the marchers, Arely Melendez, would have been in middle school — in a building right around the corner from where she was now marching.

Melendez, now a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she marched because she is close with people who depend on the program. One of those people is her boyfriend.

“This is all (my boyfriend) knows,” Melendez said. “His home is America.”

“I feel like it’s my people that I’m trying to support (by marching),” she said. “It’s not fair that they have to be limited to get a job or go to school because this is being taken away.”

Melendez was marching with Jasmine Martinez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“It definitely hit home because I live around here,” Martinez said. “Knowing the power (Trump) has over the people just trying to make a living and trying to have a better life for people who — it wasn’t even their fault — it’s just so upsetting.”

The march was diverse, with people from different ages and backgrounds in attendance, Melendez said.

There were a number of Marquette students in attendance. Individuals from multiple different student groups and organizations marched, including Empowerment, Lutheran Campus Ministry and Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, among others.

Nina Gary, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the march had an impact on the community.

“The fact that we (marched) on the South side on Walker’s point, like in the community of the people that we’re trying to help is just that much more impactful,” Gary said. “To see family members on their door steps cheering us on it really, really made an impact and showed people that, ‘Hey this might be happening, but your community members aren’t here for it, and we’re really trying to help.'”

In response to the rescinding of DACA, Marquette administration sent out a statement in support of the program. It called on the university to offer support to Marquette community members impacted by this announcement.

It was signed by President Michael Lovell, Provost Daniel Myers, Vice President for Student Affairs Xavier Cole and Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion William Welburn.

The march at Walker Square Park was only one of the protests in the area. There was a Protect DACA gathering Sept. 8, at Marquette’s Alumni West Towne Square. And on the following Monday afternoon students gathered in the AMU to sign a banner in support of people impacted by the program.

For Mary Claire Burkhardt, a sophomore in the College of Education, marching demonstrates solidarity.

“I want to show others that they are not alone,” Burkhardt said. “There are people that are of privilege and are trying to help and are doing what they can do.”

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