Milwaukee Community Organizers Rallying Ahead of 2024 Republican National Convention

Milwaukee, WI – In August 2022, it was announced the 2024 Republican National Convention will be held Milwaukee. Community organizers are already planning events protesting the convention.

People in the city see this as a way that the right and left continue to divide each other, causing strife amongst its residents. It is an event that has many community groups up in arms about its presence.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson said that hosting the RNC in Milwaukee will give the city an “economic infusion” that it sorely needs but local officials and residents remain skeptical. 

“Unless you own a hotel downtown, don’t expect much of that money to go to services the city needs,” Ryan Clancy, county supervisor for Milwaukee’s 4th district, said.

Mayor Johnson, a Democrat, told CNN hosting the event “does not mean” Milwaukee is “signing up for the platform for the Republican Party.” 

Much of the money that will be put into the city will mostly go to surveillance and protection for the RNC and its guests, further placing more money into the police’s hands, which already claims half of the city’s budget. Once upon a time, Milwaukee was on the precipice of something quite enormous, something that local experts thought would propel the city into a national spotlight, both economically and culturally. The Bucks headed toward their first championship since 1971. Fiserv Forum had just been built and had a completely unionized service staff. These were all catalysts that set forward the Democratic National Convention being hosted in Milwaukee. Alas, the pandemic struck and the plans came to a halt.

This year, Milwaukee is ready to try again. Residents are taking a closer look now because the Republican Party in general has become more outspoken on its racist and anti-labor stances. 

“Divisiveness amongst political parties seems to have become the norm. It seems that instead of focusing on policy and tactics that may unite us, there is nothing but attack ads and striking fear into people in order to achieve their means,” Milwaukee resident Jessica Schmidt said.

One group, Milwaukee Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression (MAARPR), is already planning marches and protests two years ahead of the event. 

“We welcome the opportunity to lead people in protest against the RNC. We are here to educate and to let everyone know that we will always be there when fascism makes its attempts at being normalized,” says MAARPR organizer Omar Flores.

Milwaukee was officially picked to host the RNC in August after Nashville’s common council unanimously voted against hosting the convention. The decision was a contentious one that involved local grassroots organizations handing out flyers and urging residents to scan QR codes that generated emails to council members to vote against hosting the convention.  

“We joined the coalition to march on the RNC hours after the decision was made,” Omar said. “Many of us are in the leadership for that coalition, and it is the same folks that organized against the Democratic National Convention.”

Flores says he expects to build a broader coalition because he thinks there are more residents that take issue against the Republican party. 

“We still want an anti-war, pro-worker, pro-community control of the police agendas, all which both the RNC and DNC do not support. We are very excited for the opportunity to rally directly on the people who are destroying the rights of workers, oppressed nationalities and many others,” Omar added.

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