The City of Milwaukee’s annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) kicked off on September 16, to honor the local Latino community, its culture, and vast talent.

As part of the series of special activities planned until October 15, Alderman José G. Pérez and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa released a joint statement on September 21, as a follow-up to the special recognition ceremony hosted in the Milwaukee Common Council chamber at City Hall.

Organizers and participants of the nine-day March on Madison were honored for amplifying the need for more pathways to citizenship.

This morning during a special ceremony in the Council Chamber at City Hall, we had the high honor of commending the organizers and participants of the nine-day March on Madison for Immigrants’ Rights that took place in June.

Organized and coordinated by Voces de la Frontera, the march featured dedicated individuals who walked for nine days from Milwaukee to the State Capitol Building in Madison to call on lawmakers to grant citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants here in the United States.

We know all too well that without pathways to citizenship, undocumented immigrants often live in fear and with a future that includes too many unknowns, because they lack official documents. Yet these same citizens are out there working on the front lines, every day, and under difficult circumstances – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are preparing our foods, cleaning our office buildings and residences, working construction and landscaping, and in jobs all across agriculture and manufacturing.

They ARE citizens and they deserve the fair opportunity to achieve citizenship in the United States.

The primary group of marchers back in June included Alondra Garcia, Eduardo Perea Hernandez, Maria Guadalupe Romero, Rafaela Flores, Lidia Castillo, Javier Escorcia, Brayan Reyes, Jesse Reyes, Luis Reyes, Hiram Rabadan, Mario Ramirez and Christine Neumann-Ortiz.

To the primary group we say THANK YOU to you and to everyone involved in the March on Madison for Immigrants’ Rights. Thank you for your selfless determination and for amplifying an issue that is so critical to our community and to countless other communities across our nation.

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Lee Matz