Graham Kilmer
2020 County Exec Race

Nath Kicked Out Of Voces Event

In interview with Urban Milwaukee, Nath gives her version of events.

By - Feb 3rd, 2020 05:51 pm
Purnima Nath.

Purnima Nath.

Purnima Nath, a candidate for Milwaukee County executive, went to Voces De La Frontera’s Annual Assembly Saturday, and left being escorted out by security.

The news was first reported by the Hispanic News Network (HNN), saying Nath went to the event, and in a room full of teenagers, was chanting and ranting about “illegals.” HNN released a video, that appears to be taken by Andrea Rodriguez, a candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisory District Four, of Rodriguez and Voces organizer Primitivo Torres escorting Nath out of the event.

In the video, Rodriguez is heard telling Nath that she “literally just insulted everyone in this room… by calling them illegal.” The short video shows an argument between Rodriguez and Nath. Rodriguez is repeating that Nath needs to leave for her statements and Nath repeats that she is an immigrant and “You cannot come to the country and break the law.”

Rodriguez and Nath were not the only candidates at the annual assembly. There were a number of candidates for office there, including candidates for supervisor, mayor and even judge, Nath said in an interview with Urban Milwaukee. Nath noted that she saw Tony Zielinski there. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was a speaker at the event. Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas were also there.

Voces De La Frontera is an advocacy organization that focuses on immigration policy and workers rights. The event was held by their political arm, Voces De La Frontera Action. Asked why she attended their event, Nath said she goes everywhere as a candidate despite anyone’s disagreement with her political views.

In a statement provided to Urban Milwaukee, Voces De La Frontera Action said Nath “verbally attacked multi-racial youth leaders.” The group removed her from the event to “protect the minors and their parents from abusive rhetoric.”

In the statement Christine Neumann-Ortiz said, “Voces de la Frontera Action is appalled that Purnima Nath, a candidate for Milwaukee County Executive, harassed and verbally attacked immigrant youth during an event that was meant to empower young Wisconsinites. We are incredibly proud of our young leaders who, unlike divisive candidates who follow Trump’s lead by provoking hate and division across racial lines, are focused on organizing and unifying Wisconsin, and the country.”

In an interview with Urban Milwaukee, Nath said she did not confront anyone at the event, but came to interact with potential voters. Nath said she was approached by people at the event that argued with her about immigration, not the other way around.

According to the Hispanic News Network, Nath “apparently entered an art session full of Hispanic teens” and chanted about illegals. Nath disputes this, saying the teens approached her. She was simply mingling as all the other candidates at the event were, Nath said, when the teens approached her.

Nath said she did not go there to chant. She said she went alone. Despite their disagreements about immigration policy, she said, “I am still willing to work with all entities even with Voces De La Frontera.”

Nath is the only conservative running for County Executive. In the past she has expressed support for President Donald Trump and made statements questioning the validity of climate change. 

This story was updated to include a statement from Voces De La Frontera Action.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

Categories: MKE County, Politics

5 thoughts on “2020 County Exec Race: Nath Kicked Out Of Voces Event”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Why doesnt voces allow diversity of thought at their events? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion

  2. sbaldwin001 says:

    I agree with Mr. Cotic. She was invited to the event. She should be free to express her thoughts if asked. Not everyone agrees with Voces’s positions, and if they are trying to protect teens from exposure to different points of view, they are on the wrong track. I doubt she intended to be insulting, and I wonder if HNN was more interested in the scuffle than the truth.

  3. jnor says:

    Uh…”diversity” is one thing; insulting people is entirely another. “Free speech” does not mean there are no consequences for stupid or hateful speech.

    Further: it’s irrelevant whether Nath “intended to be insulting”: the use of “illegals” as a noun to describe the undocumented is prejudicial on its face. A candidate for public office, whatever her views, ought to know better than to use bigoted language, especially to insult people to their faces.

  4. mkwagner says:

    No where in this article does it say that Nath was invited. However, it was a public forum. The problem is that the events in question occurred during a breakout session with a room full of teenagers. Let me remind you that teenagers are not adults. We know their frontal lobe is not completely developed, resulting in a lack of impulse control. Nath was the adult in the situation and yet she could not seem to keep her cool. I wonder about her ability to deal with the raucous nature of the county executive job if she can not manage teens. Beyond that, Nath assumed because this was a Latinx gathering that the attendees were (1) immigrants and (2) illegal. The vast majority of Latinx in this country are native born US citizens. Many have ancestors that predate most Euro-Americans. In the past, when the US rounded up illegal Latinx immigrants, more than 60% of those deported were native born US citizens. For anyone to assume that a person who speaks Spanish is an illegal immigrant is the definition of racism. One more fact: there are far more illegal immigrants from Europe in this country than from the Americas.

    While Nath has a right to her opinions, if she desires to be the county executive of Milwaukee County, she had better treat the citizens with much more respect than she displayed at the Voces De La Frontera Assembly on Saturday. I for one am sick to death of politicians who feel justified in being rude and disrespectful to communities of color.

  5. mcadagio says:

    I agree with mkwagner. Obviously Nath has a right to her opinions, but if she can’t keep her cool at an open event (where other participants also have a right to their opinions), I don’t see how she would have a chance at keeping County proceedings on a productive track.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us