Special News Series: Rising Up For Justice! – 45 Wisconsin Communities Protest


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Introduction To This Series:

This post is one installment in an ongoing news series: a “living history” of the current national and international uprising for justice.

Today’s movement descends directly from the many earlier civil rights struggles against repeated injustices and race-based violence, including the killing of unarmed Black people. The posts in this series serve as a timeline of the uprising that began on May 26, 2020, the day after a Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck. The viral video of Floyd’s torturous suffocation brought unprecedented national awareness to the ongoing demand to truly make Black Lives Matter in this country.

The posts in this series focus on stories of the particular killings that have spurred the current uprising and on the protests taking place around the USA and across the globe. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their lives to systemic racial, gender, sexuality, judicial, and economic injustice. The few whose names are listed here represent the countless others lost before and since. Likewise, we can report but a few of the countless demonstrations for justice now taking place in our major cities, small towns, and suburbs.

To view the entire series of Rising Up for Justice! posts, insert “rising up” in the search bar above.

See the more than 45 communities in Wisconsin that have had protests against police brutality and racial inequality

By Lainey Seyler and Talia Soglin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

July 20, 2020

When George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, people across Wisconsin marched in protest.

On May 25, George Floyd died while since-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Video of Floyd’s death spread across America, and demonstrations soon followed in major cities across the country — as well as unexpected places in Wisconsin like Brookfield, Waupaca, Beaver Dam and Burlington. 

These and other predominantly white, politically conservative communities have little history of civil rights demonstrations. That protests have sprung up in so many of these areas could signal a “sea change” in Wisconsin’s attitudes toward racial inequality, researchers say.

Here is every city in Wisconsin that we found where people have protested against racial injustice in the month since protests began. If we missed your city, email lainey.seyler@jrn.com.


By Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

About 200 marchers make their way east on Wisconsin Ave. as part of a Black Lives Matter protest Friday, June 5, 2020 Milwaukee, Wis.

The affluent Milwaukee suburb has had multiple protests in support of Black Lives Matter. More than 150 people showed up for a Kneel for Nine demonstration where protesters knelt on the ground to symbolize the nearly nine minutes that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. 



A group of about couple thousand people march and protest peacefully Monday, June 1, 2020 in downtown Milwaukee, Wis. They were joined by cars…

In Milwaukee, protests have continued strong throughout the month of June. The city has a long and proud history of civil rights activism against police brutality and racial inequality.  In 1967, demonstrators took to the streets for 200 consecutive days, marching until Milwaukee passed one of the strongest fair housing laws in the U.S. 

This month, demonstrators have marched in the face of tear gas, rubber bullets and a tropical storm. They’ve been fired up by the unofficial leadership of activists Frank Sensabaugh, known as Frank Nitty, and Khalil Coleman. And they’ve been joined by Bucks stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“The agenda is justice,” Coleman told the Journal Sentinel.

Green Bay


People lay on the concrete for 8 minutes and 40 seconds during in front of the Green Bay Police headquarters during the March for Black lives, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis.

Green Bay residents have taken to the streets for numerous protests over the last several weeks. Organizers said that one protest on June 7 swelled to about 2,500 people.

On that Sunday, protesters knelt in honor of Floyd before marching to the Green Bay police station. Black Lives United Green Bay hosted a post-protest picnic in a park. 

Lake Mills


Protesters in Lake Mills (population <6000) on June 13.

Lake Mills, residents gathered in Commons Park on June 13 holding signs like “White people must dismantle systemic racism,” and “Racism is a virus.”

La Crosse


Demonstrators raise the flashlights on their cell phones City Hall during a nine-minute period of silence to honor George Floyd who, according to an autopsy,…

La Crosse has seen a number of protests over the last three weeks. On June 4, at least 500 people showed up at the city’s Riverside Park, reported WIZM News Talk. 

The protesters then marched to City Hall, where organizer Katrina Sletten demanded change from city leadership. Mayor Tim Kabat agreed; Police Chief Shawn Kudron pledged a “transparency tab” for the police website, though WIZM notes that he did not elaborate.

The protesters also knelt for nine minutes at City Hall in honor of Floyd. 

Read the full Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article here.

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