Alison Dirr, Ricardo Torres and Matt Piper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|Four protesters - (from left) Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Fabi Maldonado, Chance Zombor and Adebisi Agoro speak before laying a wreath at the driveway of the home of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in Burlington|
Protesters on Thursday went to the Rochester home of GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to lay a wreath of flowers in response to his recent comment appearing to blame immigrant “culture” for a COVID-19 outbreak in Racine County.
“We’re here to send a message to Robin Vos, who hasn’t had to risk his life or the life of a loved one to work to support them,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of immigrant advocacy group Voces de La Frontera.
Neumann-Ortiz called on Vos to resign, apologize and "support real change.”
It was revealed recently in a secretly recorded meeting with Gov. Tony Evers that Vos seemed to blame immigrant “culture” for Racine County seeing an increase in coronavirus cases.
Vos responded in a statement Thursday saying the protests were about politics.
"Today was not about worker benefits; it was about politics, which is unfortunate," Vos said. "At a time when everyone is looking for answers, we should be finding ways to work together."
Protesters met at Echo Veterans Memorial Park to pay tribute to those who have died from the coronavirus after contracting it at work.
Dozens drove from the park to Echo Lake Foods, where they dropped off a wreath. Neumann-Ortiz believes Echo Lake Foods and Briggs & Stratton could have done more to protect and provide more benefits to their workers.
According to Voces, Juan Manuel Reyes Valdez, who worked at Echo Lake Foods, died after contracting the coronavirus, and Michael Jackson, who worked at Briggs and Stratton, died after contracting coronavirus.
They then drove to Vos’ house with another wreath but were told by Racine County sheriff's deputies that they couldn't leave items at the mailbox. The deputies offered to take the wreath and photos to store them at their sub-patrol station, where they could be picked up later.
Racine County Supervisor Fabi Maldonado agreed to pick up the wreath and photos later on.