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Milwaukee staged a 'Day Without Latinos.' Here's what that looked like.

Calling for an end to deportation raids, Wisconsinites gathered for a 'Day Without Latinos.'

Milwaukee staged a 'Day Without Latinos.' Here's what that looked like.

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained and deported Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in early February, it became clear that President Trump was taking a no-holds-barred approach to immigration.

Ripped from her family, from her two teenage children, Garcia de Rayos was just one of more than 680 undocumented immigrants detained by ICE around the country in the past week. It quickly became clear that Trump's hardline stance on undocumented immigrants was more than just tough talk, leaving many of the more than 11 million undocumented population feeling rightfully nervous that their city may soon be next.

Recently, outspoken Trump supporter and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke indicated plans to enroll his officers in the Department of Homeland Security's 287(g) program, allowing local law enforcement to act alongside ICE in detaining undocumented immigrants. Soon after, Wisconsin immigration activists began to mobilize in response.


Sheriff David Clarke spoke at a Trump campaign event on Oct. 17, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images.

On Monday, Feb. 13, thousands of Latinos, immigrants, and allies flooded the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in protest of Trump and Clarke.

Calling it a "Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants, and Refugees," civil and workers' rights group Voces de la Frontera organized a single-day strike. Immigrants, refugees, and Latino workers from around the state took the day off work and gathered for a march on the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

The goal of the strike is to use collective economic power — making their absence from the workforce felt — in a statement about how integral immigrants are to the fabric of America.

"We arrived here from more than 25 cities in Wisconsin to show Trump and his lapdog Sheriff Clarke that the people of Milwaukee, the people of Wisconsin, and this whole country reject the 287g program, which is part of this mass deportation plan," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera in a statement.

"Today, we organized a Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants, and Refugees to use our economic power — through work stoppages, small business closures and our consumer boycotts, to defend our families and communities."

There are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and they actually help the economy, rather than hurt it.

A 2016 analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that undocumented immigrants contribute roughly $11.6 billion a year in taxes.

During his campaign, President Trump tried to create the impression that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the country's resources. That's simply not an accurate portrayal of their contribution to America's economy.

Undocumented immigrants pay into systems, such as Social Security, though they'll never collect on it.

Another common thread during Trump's campaign and in the early weeks of his presidency is a supposed connection between undocumented immigrants and crime. In reality, undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens.

Trump opened his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists. At the Republican National Convention last July, Trump invited families of people murdered by undocumented immigrants to speak. Last month, he announced plans to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. All of this gives the impression that undocumented immigrants are dangerous.

The reality is that a number of studies have found that undocumented immigrants are actually less prone to crime than citizens.

Ripping people away from their families and sending them back to countries where they haven't lived in years — decades even — isn't going to make America great.

Whether they're citizens or not, the people who live here, who work here, who love here — they're Americans. And that's what the strike and the #DayWithoutLatinos was all about. From an economic point of view, it's better to have a "Day Without Latinos" than a country without Latinos. They're a part of the American story, no matter how they came here or whether they have the right kind of identification. We need to stand up in support of our fellow Americans.

People are making their voices heard. On Feb. 13, it was in Milwaukee. Wherever it's needed next, let's commit to standing on the right side of history.

You can learn more about Voces de la Frontera's work at its website.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

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It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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