February 15, 2017
by Zachery Eanes
The three Compare Foods grocery stores in Durham will close their doors on Thursday, Feb. 16 as part of “A Day Without Immigrants,” a movement that has grown out of a reaction to a recent uptick in deportations and raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Hispanic grocery chain’s stores on Avondale Drive, Miami Boulevard and University Drive will be closed, the grocery store chain said.
A manager at a Compare Foods added that all the chain’s stores in North Carolina were ordered to close on Thursday by the company in solidarity with the movement.
“We’re closing because we are trying to support the Latino community,” said Ernesto Padilla, general manager of the Compare Foods on Avondale Drive and Miami Boulevard. “Our store is part of the Latino community and we are also part of the immigrant community.”
“A Day Without Immigrants” calls for Hispanics and their supporters to boycott stores, avoid restaurants and not send their children to schools on Thursday.
Several other Hispanic businesses in the area are also closing for “A Day Without Immigrants," including many around Avondale Drive, like DolEx Money Transfer and Panaderia Y Pasteleria.
In Charlotte and Monroe, seven Compare Foods announced they were closing in solidarity with the movement. A rally connected with the movement is scheduled in downtown Charlotte at noon on Thursday, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Wilmington is also reportedly having A Day Without a Latino protest Thursday.
A similar event held Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reportedly convinced 150 businesses to close, and drew participation from an estimated 30,000 demonstrators.
David Salazar, a representative of Si a las Licencias, one of the grassroots organizations drumming up support for “A Day Without Immigrants" in the Triangle, said his group was inspired by Monday's demonstrations in Milwaukee. Si a Las Licencias has planned a rally in Raleigh’s Moore Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Salazar said the negative language thrown at the Hispanic community by politicians concerned him.
“We feel like we have to make a statement toward public officials and especially [President Donald] Trump,” he said. “We are good people, we pay taxes and we are economic movers in North Carolina and the nation. We have issues like every community but we are not who [Trump] says we are.”
Salazar said that around 50 businesses in the Triangle have confirmed that they would close their doors as part of “A Day Without Immigrants.” He said his group had been going around door-to-door all day to ask Hispanic businesses to close their doors in solidarity with the movement.
He said he hopes the protests and closures on Thursday will make North Carolinians recognize how important immigrant workers are to the economy.
“I think people recognize our work but are scared to talk about it,” he said. “If you go to any construction site downtown, whether it is Durham or Raleigh, immigrants are the ones building that."
On Wednesday the town of Carrboro issued a news release stating that the Carrboro Police Department does not check immigration status.
“We would like to assure everyone that one’s immigration status has never been a concern or priority to the Carrboro Police. We are here to serve all members of our community,” Police Chief Walter Horton said.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood previously have said they do not make immigration status a priority for their officers.
All three agencies work with El Centro Hispano in Carrboro to organize community outreach programs, including the Faith ID initiative, which provides immigrants and citizens with an identification card that shows they are a community member. The card isn’t a government-issued ID card or a driver’s license.
An El Centro official said the organization’s Carrboro and Durham offices will be closed Thursday in solidarity with striking workers.
Several Chapel Hill and Carrboro businesses that plan to be open Thursday said they did not know if employees would be taking Thursday off.
Chuy Bravo, co-owner of Fiesta Grill, west of Carrboro, said he told his workers to do what they feel is right but that he won’t be able to pay them for the time off.
“I support them and everything, but business is business. Every penny counts, and we have bills to pay and rent to pay. We’re just going to have to manage it ourselves without employees,” he said.
Source: The Herald-Sun