Hundreds of thousands of protestors have descended on the Capitol in Madison, WI in the last year. Tens of thousands of volunteers have mobilized petition drives, meetings, and rallies in their own communities. Numerous reports in the media cite “dislike” of Gov. Walker or single issue reasons such as the collective bargaining roll back as driving factors fueling the recall. Although these reasons would be legally sufficient under Wisconsin’s constitutional right to recall, I have found public discontent to be much more multifaceted than these often used examples. After 8 months of collecting interviews and posting reports from people around the state, I have found the issues to be as diverse as the people themselves. Continue reading
These bagpipers from the firefighter’s union have not missed a single Madison rally. In the crowd of 40,000, I was fortunate enough to make my way right up next to them as they circled the Capitol. I captured this inspiring bagpipe audio. As you listen, it feels like you are right in the crowd, eavesdropping on side conversations and struggling to hear over the cheers of bystanders. The crowd followed, sang, and played makeshift instruments along with them at times.
I randomly interviewed people in the crowd. I was surprised by the number of people who were at the rally primarily supporting other people. Being minimally affected themselves by recent public policy changes, some people were advocating for the preservation of the legacy of Wisconsin.
Here are 2 of those stories.
“Megan”, a social worker in Child Protective Services, first told her story in May when the debate of Gov. Walker’s Budget Repair Bill was still underway. Now that the bill has passed, Megan has agreed to offer an inside view of the recent changes to her workplace. She also provides intimate details about how the BRB has affected her personal life and the lives of the families that she serves.
Here’s her continuing story.
Below is a recent email sent by Chris, a grassroots organizer, teacher, and founder of We Teach, We learn. He and his wife, Lisa, have been active in what has been 2011 Wisconsin protests in our state. For many, this involvement has been all encompassing and altering the way people view themselves. Chris described his life and turned this email into a blog and posted it on his blog site. It not only summarizes the blow-by-blow battle for WI, but captures the roller coaster of emotions that many Wisconsinites have felt for the last 6 months.
Here’s his story.
——————————- Continue reading
Click HERE to watch a portion of her interview.
Duana Bremer has been the Director of Social Services for Polk, Burnett, and St. Croix counties for the last 7 years. She left a more lucrative career in sales and marketing, in order to serve the neediest people in our communities. She tells us that her job will become more challenging with the cuts coming at the state level. She worries that it will be more difficult for the most vulnerable people to find the help they need or that the poorest children will not have their nutritional needs met with the 10% cuts to the school food programs . Duana looks at her job the way that our elected leaders should, she wants to serve and “learn from” the people she helps. The best way she can serve them now is by speaking for them, as Wisconsin finds itself at a crossroads.
Here’s her story…and theirs. Continue reading
Tami Weber has lived in Wisconsin’s Senate District 10 her entire life. Now in her forties, she grew up in the late Senator Gaylord Nelson’s village – Clear Lake. Tami now lives in a modest apartment in River Falls. She told me that due to impending budgetary cuts in Gov. Walker’s Budget Repair Bill, supported by Senator Harsdorf, she may soon find herself living in a nursing home. You see, Tami is quadriplegic. And the changes coming at the state level are eroding the structure upon which Tami’s life is based.
Here’s her story. Continue reading
“Megan” is one of the more than 280,000 public workers in WI. She’s a social worker in the division of Child Protective Services. She investigates allegations of neglect and also the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children. If needed, she refers families for services. Megan is a witness in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society – poverty stricken children. Part of the reason that Megan is good at her job is because she knows what it’s like to be on the other side.
Here’s her story.