Open Letter to Wisconsin Democrats

A buncha dems watching Gov Evers sign the 2019 budget.

We are inviting all Wisconsin Democrats and all organizations addressing prison issues to publicly join the 3 demands of Governor Evers. Please sign the petition, and forward it to friends, and most importantly, public figures you follow and to your elected officials.

Below is an open letter we’ve sent to more than 120 Wisconsin members or affiliates of the Democratic party, including assembly and congressional representatives, state and federal senators, county board supervisors, city council members, party officers, and more.  We are also sending the open letter to a wide variety of state and local media.

A number of organizations have signed on to support this open letter, if you are a member of any organization that might also sign on, please contact us at abolishmke@protonmail.com. This effort will not be effective without broad support. Please contact any Democrats you know and ask them to sign the petition, and to contact their elected officials, asking them to also sign the petition and publicly call for action from the Governor.

Dear Wisconsin Democrats,

You are needed to take action against a humanitarian crisis occurring in this state. You know that Wisconsin’s prisons are racially targeted torture chambers. You know the DOC allowed COVID-19 to infect more than half of its captives, killing at least 25. You know that Wisconsin prisons are still overcrowded, despite a sustained, but gradual, decline in incarceration starting in April 2020. You know that decline was mostly caused by court delays and was a temporary response to the pandemic.

Unless decisive action is taken, when the state bounces back, the incarceration rate will bounce back as well. The Evers administration has done little to prevent the DOC and the courts from resuming mass incarceration in this state. Meanwhile, the gerrymandered legislature is working hard to escalate this crisis, by building new prisons, and passing tougher-on-crime laws. They’ve blocked the most modest reform legislation without serious debate or fair votes.

We sympathize with the difficulty that partisan gridlock and gerrymandering have caused you, someone who was elected to change laws and serve your community. We share in the frustration of having a legislature that was built to deny representation and expand racial disparity and disenfranchisement. That’s why you need to join us in bypassing that process by demanding action from the Governor.

Your minimal responsibility as an elected official is to take meaningful action to prevent deaths and reduce hardship for the people who elected you. In the current context, that means demanding executive action by the Governor. You can do so by making a public statement and signing our petition calling for three simple, minimal actions from the governor: expand pardon criteria, veto prison expansions from the budget, and release people from prison.

The leader of your party has neglected his campaign promises and eroded public trust. We will not idly wait for another election. Instead, we put the demand to you, now. You must choose between loyalty to the party, and loyalty to the people.

Sign on today.

So far, the following organizations support this letter. Contact abolishmke@protonmail.com to have your organization added to the list.

African American Roundtable
All Of Us Or None Milwaukee
American Civil Liberties Union
Black and Pink Milwaukee
The Community
Exincarcerated People Organizing (expo)
Forum For Understanding Prisons
Get the Lead Out Coalition of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America Abolition Working Group
MKE Lit Supply
Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee
Prison Action Milwaukee
Youth Justice Milwaukee