At 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 4, the first tents of Walkerville were erected. Hundreds of Wisconsinites are protesting Scott Walker’s poor budget choices by forming a tent city around the Capitol. Students, workers, and concerned citizens brought sleeping bags, pillows, tents and good spirits to kick off a continuous protest until the budget is passed.
Community members of Wisconsin are raising their voice to protect education, public services and communities in Wisconsin.
Walkerville began with a welcome meeting. Peter Rickman, UW-Madison Law Student and Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) member, outlined the rules and regulations of the community so that citizens of Walkerville can continue to hold their elected officials accountable safely.
Rickman also encouraged protestors to visit local business while protesting.
“They are who we are fighting for,” explained Rickman. “We are fighting for working families, small businesses and better communities in Wisconsin."
The night continued with live music from local artist Owen Mays.
Helena White, a speech and language clinician at East High School in Madison came to Walkerville with her two sons. A member of the Madison Teachers Inc. White explained that she came to Walkerville because the budget negatively impacts every member of her family.
“We are here to raise our voice against this budget and tell Scott Walker that the people do not support his policies. This budget will affect my teaching environment by increasing my case load to a point where each child is not getting the best education possible. As a union member, I stand to lose my rights and my voice on the job. Both my sons attend public schools in Madison and their education is on the line. ”
Sara Lam, a TAA member in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at UW-Madison expressed that Walker’s cuts will negatively affect the quality of the program. The Department, which is one of the best in its field, may lose some of its best faculty due to Walker’s policies.
Lam, who is also 30 weeks pregnant, explained that people were surprised that she still came out:
“To me it was not even a question. This budget is going to negatively impact the health and wellness of thousands of Wisconsinites. One night outside was not an issue.”
Walkerville will continue until the budget is passed. There will be a pre-set program at noon and 7:00 pm each day.