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Tylar Moore W&R 1 Section 70 Warren Activism/ Advocacy/ Service Final Draft Due 12/16/2011 During my time in high

school I came across Voces de la Frontera. Its English translation meaning voices of the border , Voces is a leading grassroots organization advocating for the rights of immigrants and workers. Voces de la Frontera began as a bilingual newspaper in 1995 in Austin, TX, subtitled 'a voice of the voiceless' and championing immigrant rights and wider social justice issues. ("Voces De La Frontera - History"). The editor, Christine, Neumann-Ortiz relocated to Wisconsin in 1998 bringing the newspaper with her. In 2000, the publication expanded to activism with the campaign to legalize undocumented workers in the state of Wisconsin. From the activist foundation in Milwaukee, Voces swiftly gained more support and volunteers. I became one of those volunteers during my sophomore year. One of my closest friends, Jhoselinn and I were both a part of Amnesty International. Growing frustrated with the sentiment for undocumented people in the country and her own struggles with gaining citizenship, Josy collaborated with some of the coordinators from Voces to induct a student branch of the organization to our school: Students United For Immigrant Rights. The group would meet every Wednesday after school to brainstorm and execute ways to support the larger movement of Voces de la Frontera. This resulted in various forums and fundraisers, but the most unifying movements were in the marches and rallies that Voces would organize.

The first event I remember being in for Voces was the Get Out to Vote campaign for the 2008 presidential election. My group went around parts of the southside to knock on doors encouraging people to vote. It was very rewarding to see the joy people had knowing that they could register in time for the election. From there came the series of marches to call for our senators to be in support of the Dream Act, the bill that would allow more undocumented persons to go to college by letting them pay in-state tuition instead of out-of-state tuition. Some of the marches were held in the nastiest of weather, but we all pushed on. People would honk their horns in support of us, or flip their fingers if they didn t agree. We met with the pages for the senators and always received the most political publicrelation style response; either the senators would get back to us or there were more important issues that they needed to focus on. Eventually, Feingold and Kohl did hear us out and both came out in support of the Dream Act. Every May 1st is the Mayday march for immigrant and worker rights put together by Voces de la Frontera that started off in 2006 with 25,000 showing up in solidarity. The most recent rally garnered over 100,000 supporters ( MayDay Milwaukee ). For these events I would sign up peers in my class to march, making signs and costumes, and sometimes I would even do photography to capture the moments of the movement. By senior year I came out from the behind the scene curtains to be even more proactive with activism and rallying. All of my past experience with Voces and Amnesty International allowed me take on being the president of the LGBT group at my school. With the fund cutting of Milwaukee Public Schools, the raising of tuition

for UW-Milwaukee intersecting with the Dream Act and advocacy of equal rights, my peer Lisa and I began the group MPS Students for a Quality Education. I spoke at several rallies on the relationship and importance of all these issues, ending up on the news multiple times (which made everyone in my family extremely proud). At the end of my senior year, we both were honored with the Gordon Zahn activism award and scholarship: Tylar Moore was selected because of her activism with Voces de la Frontera, her leadership with the Gay/Straight Alliance and her commitment to equity in school funding which she exhibited by organizing students against budget cuts and testifying at the school board. ("Students Recognized For Their Work for Social Justice ). The fall after my high school graduation, the mid-term elections took place. At my personal and political dismay, Scott Walker was elected as the new governor of Wisconsin. He previously held office as the Milwaukee County Executive where he took drastic measures to undercut Milwaukee s working class in favor of the rich. He passed legislation which took away bargaining rights for most state employees in the beginning of 2011 which sparked a series of recall elections for many of the state representatives, senators, and even the governor himself. Voces de la Frontera has been on the forefront of the mission to recall Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch through petitioning and holding forums and rallies. Though I now live in Chicago, whenever I go back to Milwaukee I make time to spread the word about the recall election that is only a month away now. I take my friends who want to sign the recall petition to Voces to make sure the sign a legitimate petition and

not one of the many bogus ones that are floating around. I am unable to rally but I forward my e-mail updates to my friends to make sure they are able to do so because there is strength in numbers. Our next great accomplishment for Wisconsin is to make sure Scott Walker is elected out of office so that we can maintain the state s long history for worker s rights and continue on the fight for immigrant rights as well.

Works Cited "Students Recognized For Their Work for Social Justice." Voces De La Frontera [Milwaukee] 20 July 2010. Print. "Voces De La Frontera - History." Voces De La Frontera - Campaigning for Immigrant and Low Wage Worker Rights. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. <>. Wigderson, James. "Milwaukee s May Day Rally." MacIver Institute. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. <>.