Rally at state capitol draws in more than 1,500 college and high - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Rally at state capitol draws in more than 1,500 college and high school students

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UPDATE (WKOW)-- Hundreds of high school and college students rallied at the state capitol Monday afternoon. The Wisconsin Department of Administration estimates the crowd inside the capitol was well over 1,500 people. That's not including the hundreds of others who couldn't squeeze into the jam packed rotunda.

"I think it's our duty and our obligation as citizens for the sake of democracy to turn out like this," UW-Madison student Michael Davis says.

A few hundred UW-Madison students started their march to the state capitol with a brief gathering at Bascom Hill around 11:00 Monday morning. The group then marched down State Street and eventually came upon the capitol steps where a few hundred high school students were waiting for them.

"Our administration really stressed that we don't come down here just to skip school," Verona High School senior Elijah Linderud says.

"They said come down if you really, strongly believe in this. It's okay then. It's fine, but don't just come down to the capitol to skip school. We don't want to represent that. I wanted to come down to help create a better society."

High school students from East Madison, West Madison, Sun Prairie, Verona and others, left school to participate in the rally. Some students were excused by administrators and teachers, but others simply walked out of class.

The group of students, now more than 1,500 strong, funneled into the state capitol around noon. That's when organizers urged students to keep their emotions in check and to focus their message on the issues that matter.

"I'm going to need you guys to stay organized," Young Gifted and Black Coalition member Brandi Grayson tells the crowd.

"I'm going to need you guys to stay focused and I need you to listen."

The crowd itself was well mixed with several skin colors, nationalities and age groups. A handful of students held up signs that read "Asian Teens Showing Support." Other groups of students thought it was important to show their support as well.

"Without white people's support in this as well, it's pretty much like saying that we don't care," Verona senior Tanner O'Connor says after being asked why he joined the rally Monday.

"I just wanted to show my support for injustices I see in the community."

Older demonstrators were surprised by the passion they saw from younger students. Bianca Gomez is a UW-Madison grad student studying Afro-American studies. She was happy to see the turnout, but sad to see children with so much concern in their eyes.

"It's sad because I feel like they should be enjoying their childhood and not having to prove that they are human and deserve to live," Gomez explains.

After the rally the group marched around the capitol square and ended their demonstration outside the city county building in downtown Madison. The group sat down in the street and called on city leaders to address the crowd.

Mayor Paul Soglin came out and spoke for a few minutes, but demonstrators didn't seem to like his message. Soglin tried to encourage students to see the "big picture" of racism and to address issues that he sees in today's modern society, but several students were upset that Soglin didn't speak specifically about the shooting involving Tony Robinson.

A few dozen demonstrators stayed in downtown Madison to protest outside of the Madison Police and Fire Commission meeting Monday night. Group leaders with the Young Gifted and Black Coalition are planning additional demonstrations in wake of Friday night's shooting.

A Facebook group called "We Stand With the Madison Police Department" is also planning a demonstration Wednesday night. The group currently has more than 10,000 followers online.

UPDATE (WKOW) --- Hundreds of high school students, college students, and residents marched to the Capitol Monday to rally after the weekend officer-involved shooting.
High school students from Tony Robinson's alma mater, Sun Prairie High School, started walking out of class at 9:00 a.m.  Those students, as well as hundreds of others, met at East High School where their protest march began, mid-morning. 

The group grew as they went, not long, occupying and blocking traffic, on both sides of East Washington Ave.  The group took a turn, stopping for a moment of silence on Williamson Street near the location where the shooting took place.  They continued to onward to the Capitol. 

Meanwhile at the Capitol the march from Bascom Hill also had a moment of silence when reaching the Capitol.

The rally outside, moved inside the Capitol for a short period of time.

Gordon Severson and Caroline Bach are there and will continue to update this story and have more on 27 News at 5 & 6.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Local high school students are marching down E. Washington to the Capitol with a police escort.

Students from Sun Prairie and Madison East High Schools walked out of class this morning in support of Tony Robinson, the 19-year-old shot and killed by a Madison police officer Friday.

The students are holding signs and chanting "No justice, no peace. No racist police" and "We are Tony Robinson. Black lives matter."

Traffic is being detoured in the area.

Meanwhile, some UW-Madison students planned to walk out of class around 10:15 to meet at Bascom Hill and walk to the Capitol as well.

MADISON (WKOW) -- More than 100 UW students have signed up to stage a walk-out this morning from classes after an unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer Friday.

According to a Facebook group post, students say they will wear all black and march from Bascom Hill at 10:30 to the Wisconsin State Capitol by 11:30. It's in response to Friday's officer-involved shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson.

Madison police say Robinson and Officer Matt Kenny got into a struggle during a call to a home on Williamson Street, and Officer Kenny shot Robinson.

The Facebook page about the walk-out also says local high school students are planning similar demonstrations Monday. Sun Prairie High School students confirmed to 27 News some of them plan to walk out of class after first period Monday. Tony Robinson is a 2014 graduate of Sun Prairie High School.
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