Wisconsin’s racist legislature is at it again—this time they’re coming for the parental rights of incarcerated (and formerly incarcerated) people.
Assembly Bill 627 aims to terminate the parental rights based on the parent’s incarceration status. As recently as October 2021, research has shown that Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rates for black people in the country. Given this information, is there any other way to interpret this law? It’s clearly yet another attack on Black parents and Black youth.
As with many racist misconceptions held by those who uphold and defend white supremacy, the absentee Black parent has been shown to be a myth and a falsehood meant to delegitimize the pain Black families experience when they’re broken up by state violence. This is nothing more than a continuation of the antebellum practice of separating families.
This bill was introduced and co-sponsored by a host of republicans who’s constituencies are designed to exclude BIPoC by way of racist gerrymandering and voter restriction laws. Though it is unlikely to be signed into law by Governor Evers, it’s introduction and co-sponsorship makes clear what kinds of oppressive attacks the state intends to take once the governorship swings back to the GOP.
Having a strong connection to friends and family has been consistently linked to a reduction in recidivism. But, the state and DOC consistently put policies into place that only exacerbate the problems in our society, ruin the lives of everyone entangled in their web of corruption and perpetuate violence and harm.
On December 1, 2021, a handful of collaborators with abolishMKE went to the capitol in Madison to speak against this bill. Anticipating that the public would speak against this bill, the committee scheduled it for the end of the session, making anyone who opposes it wait all day. Nearly 3/4 of the people who signed up to speak ended up being unable to wait due to this scheduling decision. This tactic has consistently employed by these committee’s so they can ignore the public. It’s just another example of how they don’t care what we want or what we think, they get into power and do what they can to ruin all of our lives.
People have overwhelming come out to say: we want fewer cops, and more investment in people and communities. But right now: our work is at risk!
Politicians in Milwaukee are making decisions that will either continue the city’s carceral and white supremacist approach to public safety, or depart from it to invest in people and communities. This is a time when we need the whole city talking about the budgets, and particularly about defunding police. If you haven’t contacted your local representatives yet, on both the city and county level, now is the time.
What’s at stake this week:
195 more cops. Mayor Tom Barrett proposed three police recruit classes of 65 cops each, which will cost Milwaukee $6 million. Common council will approve it next Monday unless we stop them.
Harm reduction in the jail and house of corruption (HOC). A committee of the county board is hearing a resolution about giving people held in the jail and HOC free phone calls and video visits on Friday, October 29, at 10:30am.
$3 million increase for county sheriff’s office (MCSO). County exec David Crowley proposed raises for MCSO staff, but the county board can shut him down.
$700,000 for lakefront surveillance. Crowley also proposed a system to expand MCSO surveillance and violence on the lakefront.
Divesting $11.3 million MCSO. County board members introduced 24 amendments that will take money from the sheriff and put it into human needs and real public safety.
Milwaukee Common Council is having their annual session for public testimony on the budget on Monday, October 4, at 6:30pm. This is the single opportunity the government creates specifically to get yelled at by residents about what budget priorities should be.
This year the hearing will be virtual, due to the pandemic. Register online now! Registration closes at 4:30 PM on Monday.