May First

IWWdrawing.smlr.gif.pagespeed.ce.tJRGHqhX7kBy Alan Schultz

Whether you recognize May 1st as “May Day,” “International Workers Day,“ or “A Day With Out Latinxs & Immigrants,” you’ll find revolutionary change at the heart of it. May 1st, 1886, is largely recognized for a nationwide strike called for by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (the precursor to the American Federation of Labor) in their demand for an 8 hour work day. In this era it was not uncommon to have children of elementary school age working 10 to 16 hour days 7 days a week. 400,000 people took to the streets in Chicago on May Day alone.

Tragedy struck though, on May 3rd, 1886, when, during a massive rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago a bomb was thrown into a crowd of police officers. One died immediately, 6 others were also fatally wounded, and another 70 or so were injured. The police opened fired on the rally goers and to this day there remains no knowledge of how many lives were lost in total. In the aftermath, a political witch-hunt was conducted. Eight men -all anarchists or socialists- were arrested and tried in front of a rigged court. Four of the men were executed by hanging, one committed suicide while in prison, and the last three were pardoned six years after their conviction in 1887. Of the four men hanged, one was Albert Parsons, a white radical and prominent political figure, who was married to Lucy Parsons, the famous black/chicana/indigenous anarchist, who later went on to be part of the inaugural founding of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. Continue reading “May First”

Get involved in CLOSE MSDF Campaign Launch Anniversary Event!

What:    #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Launch Anniversary Event

When:   Thursday, June 28, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where:  Hephatha Lutheran Church, 1720 W. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53206

Visit to RSVP for this event.

Join us in celebration of the progress we have made since the initial launch of the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign in June of 2017! Joining the event will be a distinguished panel of #CLOSEmsdf Campaign leaders to discuss the momentum that has been built while explaining the work that needs to be done in 2018 and beyond!

2018 will be a crucial year for the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign. We need your help guarantee that this year will be remembered as a year of historic change. Join us and get involved in the movement for justice and equity!MSDF_Projection.jpg

Mark: 17 people have died at MSDF.… I was almost one of them

My name is Mark. I am currently being housed at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. I would like to give a first-hand account on what is going on here. Let me start by saying this is by far the worst facility I’ve ever been in. MSDF (as it’s known) is housing inmates in the worst conditions. Men are crowded into a small cell built for one person, three at a time. The third man is placed into a plastic bin on the floor called a boat. These boats force the inmate to sleep on the floor less than 1 foot away from the toilet all three men relieve themselves in. The placement of three men in the cell makes it impossible to move. This forces the three men to remain in the bed for the entire [time] they are locked in. Continue reading “Mark: 17 people have died at MSDF.… I was almost one of them”

Ramerro: I can barely breathe throughout the night

My name is Ramerro, and I am a registered sex offender. Right now I am sitting at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. The reason I am here is because I decided to go on the run, due to the fact that my probation agent was trying to put me on a homeless bracelet. Now the reason I didn’t agree with her decision is because I had and still have my own house. And the only people that stay with me are my two kids (who are boys) and their mother.

Now before any of this happened, I was told by my agent to ask the SOT (sexual offender training) teacher if it was OK and what did he think. He looked at me straight in my eyes and told me that if my case isn’t against my kids or their mother then I should be able to live at my home with my family with no problems. But my agent disagreed and said no just because I told her that me and my kid’s mom argue sometimes.

If you ask me, that’s really not a strong reason to keep a man or woman from their family. Here I am right now living in a two-man cell with three men in it. And I’m the one sleeping on a boat on the floor. I have no space and I can barely breathe throughout the night. So just imagine what me and other inmates are going through. I feel like the state of Wisconsin and DOC, agents are getting away with too much. It needs to be stopped now before it gets worse.

Ventae Parrow: It’s unconstitutional, inhumane and unjust

Ventae“It’s unconstitutional, inhumane, unjust and also absolutely unacceptable for a prison, in the inner city of Milwaukee or anywhere else, to be overly populated with people who haven’t been convicted of crimes. It is inhumane to have three people reside in a cell designed for only one person; be exposed to cruel and unusual punishment; deprived of natural air, sunlight, human contact, appropriate health care, dental care and mental health care; and denied accurate legal assistance, law library access and opportunities to effectively rehabilitate and be providers.” #CLOSEmsdf Campaign Leader Ventae Parrow

#CLOSEmsdf Campaign Leader Ventae Parrow, who was recently detained at MSDF for nine months, understands that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Ventae recently argued that it is time to shut down MSDF and build communities in a piece that he wrote for Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Click here to read the piece.

2018 is a going to be a crucial year for the #CLOSEmsdf Campaign. We need your help to ensure that this year will be remembered as a historic year for change. Join us at the next monthly #CLOSEmsdf Campaign meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday, April 17th at 6 pm to get involved with the movement for equity and justice.

Visit to RSVP and for information.

If you do not live near Milwaukee but want to get involved, please contact Mark Rice at to learn about how you can help advance the campaign .

Danny: MSDF is the worst possible place

For three years now, Danny has been trying to re-integrate into society after serving time for a burglary conviction. He started parole March 2015. Here he describes his experience with trying to get his life back together, and how that was derailed, ending with a stay in MSDF:

First year of parole went great, got a new job after the work release and started building my life back up. Went half on a condo with girlfriend and half on a new car also. Parole switched me to a different agent and she switched me from [visiting P.O.] once a month to once a week for no reason, after I already earned once a month for staying out of trouble. She was after me for some reason, still don’t know why to this day. Continue reading “Danny: MSDF is the worst possible place”

Charles: MSDF should be shut down

I have been in and out of the system since 2008. There were times that I may have deserved to be incarcerated, but there were also times like this one [in Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, or MSDF] that I don’t deserve to be.

Not even offering minimum requirements for prison programming

For MSDF to be considered a prison, they have no kind of programs as far as vocational goes. I’ve been locked up for a month now. I have written the program director just to ask for different modules to do while being incarcerated and I’ve gotten no answer. It’s been two weeks since I sent my request.

Inhumane conditions

I’ve been placed in a “boat” [plastic sled-type bed on floor] for sleeping arrangements at the beginning of my stay here. The food that they serve us, I feel as if I’m getting a children’s plate. For people without money on their books, they used to give soap every other day, now they only give it once a week.

Shut it down

MSDF, in my thoughts, should be shut down. I thank you for allowing me to share my concerns.

DA: The goal isn’t to say “gotcha”

John Chisholm, Milwaukee County DA, discusses reentry programs and problems on RiverWest Radio:

You should hold people accountable for what they do. But you should not use the supervision period for perpetual confinement. It’s not in people’s interest or the state’s, in terms of how much we spend on individuals who are incarcerated….

And just as importantly, it has detrimental effects in the community itself, which extends to other members of the community who are often dependent on them for income and support. …

The ultimate goal isn’t to say “gotcha” on a rule violation and send you back to prison….What we need to work on is connecting people with the resources they need to help them be successful. That’s not only the most effective thing to do but the best thing for the community – to integrate everyone back into the community in a safe and productive way.

See the full interview and other programs at


Joshua: This place kind of makes you lose your mind

The first time my agent locked me up was for a money violation around May 2017. I had a couple hundred dollars around. Second time he locked me up is the situation I’m in now, being revocated for alleged violations. They gave me 2 years 4 months and 28 days. And I haven’t had no case, just allegations

Being locked up in MSDF is not a good experience. This place is run like a max. We’re always locked in and they feed you like you’re a toddler. It if wasn’t for the canteen, you’d starve. You get no sunlight. It’s a building inside of a building. No fresh air, just recycled air. Continue reading “Joshua: This place kind of makes you lose your mind”