‘These are human rights we need to defend:’ Local organizations come together on the Day of the Dead to honor immigrants, protest ICE

MADISON, Wis. — On Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, several local organizations joined together in front of the state capitol in support of reuniting families at the border and abolishing ICE.

The Day of the Dead is traditionally meant to honor loved ones that have passed, but Larissa Joanna, an activist and organizer of today’s event, wanted to extend the holiday to people of color all over the world. She spent her Sunday morning building a memorial to honor immigrants and people killed by police.

“The message and the take away I hope people get today is that we’re together fighting for something that’s right for this country and for the world,” Joanna said.

The memorial featured pictures of children who have died while in detainment camps. It was a part of a larger event where protesters gathered to hear speakers and honor immigrants.

“We’re out here not because it’s fun, because it’s nice weather,” Joanna said. “We’re out here because these are human rights we need to defend.”

Several local organizations joined together for the event, including the Socialist Alternative.

“I’m just happy that in the midst of everything else going on, that people come out and take the time to stand for something that matters,” Jacob Druker, a representative for the Socialist Alternative said. “I’m always heartened and happy to see that.”

Organizers said that today’s event was also in support of ongoing social justice protests across the state. They plan to hold a similar rally in the weeks to come.