Dems exploit dead black teens for campaign rally

  • Days before the midterm elections, a flier surfaced at Milwaukee Area Technical College featuring Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Dontre Hamilton.
  • The flier said, “[d]on’t let anyone silence your voice. Vote Nov. 4th.”
  • The flier was also featured at a rally for Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.

Days before the midterm elections, a flier using the images of three dead African-American men to encourage people to vote was discovered at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The flier, which was posted on a campus bulletin board, featured pictures of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Dontre Hamilton, an African-American man who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer last April.

“Don’t let anyone silence your voice. Vote Nov. 4th."   

“Don’t let anyone silence your voice. Vote Nov. 4th,” the flier read.

On Monday morning, the fliers were featured prominently during a rally at Milwaukee City Hall. According to the Journal Sentinel, two dozen faith leaders joined together to rally for Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor. Video and photos from the event show attendees holding copies of the fliers, including larger sized versions.

“It's a shame if you stay home and don't vote,” Reverend Shaun Jones told the crowd. “There are young folks buried in their graves who wish they could vote."

James T. Harris, a prominent African-American talk radio host, first brought the flier to public attention last Friday after a student source sent him a picture of the controversial poster hanging from a bulletin board on MATC’s downtown Milwaukee campus.

Photo courtesy of James T Harris. 

In an interview with Campus Reform, Harris, who spent years working in Milwaukee, commented that the fliers show the “desperation” Democrats are feeling.

“If they can’t get out the black vote for Democrats, they lose,” Harris said.

The radio host called the fliers “purely emotional,” noting that the “Democratic Party is the home of this type of racial angst.”

Wisconsin’s gubernatorial election between Republican incumbent Scott Walker and Burke is considered to be one of the closest contests in the country. High-profile Democrats including President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Michelle Obama have campaigned for Burke in Milwaukee in recent days.

Op-Ed columnist Eugene Kane wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Wisconsin is in the middle of an intense election; the main reason for Obama's appearance was to motivate African-American voters to turn out for Democrat Mary Burke, a white candidate who remains largely unknown in the local black community.”

In recent months, events like the April shooting of Dontre Hamilton have sparked racial tension in Milwaukee. Activists have claimed that Hamilton’s death, like those of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, was the result of excessive force by police. On October 16th, the officer who killed Hamilton was fired by Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Following this decision, the area police union held a no confidence vote in Flynn with over 99 percent of members expressed no confidence in their chief.

Milwaukee Area Technical College did not respond to requests for comment from Campus Reform

UPDATE: After publication, a university spokesperson sent an email to Campus Reform saying that the university did not approve the flier. The university also said the school's Office of Student Life did not receive any complaints. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @emilyjashinsky

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