The same immigrant-advocacy group that led a disruptive protest at a Charlotte City Council citizen’s forum in February says it is now organizing a citywide boycott of jobs, businesses and schools on May 1.
Comunidad Colectiva is calling on Charlotteans to stay home from work and school, keep their businesses closed, and avoid shopping that day.
A rally is set at Marshall Park from 1-4 p.m. and will conclude with a march to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. Organizers have not said whether they plan to attend another City Council citizen’s forum scheduled later that day at the Government Center.
Comunidad Colectiva is calling the May 1 event a “day of resistance” on behalf of all minority groups, not just undocumented immigrants.
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“This is a day to uplift the voice of all those who are marginalized and are not being heard by our city, state, and national leaders. Immigrants, Muslims, queer and trans people, black and brown, are under attack and are not being protected,” said a statement from the group posted on Facebook.
Comunidad Colectiva says two other immigrant advocacy groups have so far joined the call for a boycott: The Southeast Asian Coalition and Alerta Migratoria. More are being recruited, group leaders said.
Charlotte had an earlier boycott Feb. 16, when the national Day Without Immigrants closed more than 250 immigrant businesses in the city and drew more than 8,000 marchers to uptown.
That event was peaceful in contrast to a Feb. 27 citizens forum, when 200 protesters showed up at a City Council meeting, shouting and cursing at city leaders. The protesters wanted, among other things, to convince city leaders they should resist federal efforts to arrest people who are living illegally in the country. Experts estimate 54,000 people from other nations are living illegally in Mecklenburg County.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested more than 30 undocumented immigrants in the city this year. ICE officials say most of those arrested were people who had been convicted of crimes, or they had been previously deported.
Comunidad Colectiva has a list of demands it wants the city to meet, including greater leniency for undocumented immigrants when they are pulled over by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. The group has also asked the city to provide money for legal services needed by undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The city has declined to supply the money.
“The immigrant community is under attack and our city leaders have failed to take action to protect us,” said a Facebook post from Comunidad Colectiva. “We are marching and rallying to demand accountability, justice, and action by our government officials. This is a people’s rally and march to tell Charlotte’s city leaders … that we will continue to resist.”
For details on the Comunidad Colectiva event, visit: www.facebook.com/ComunidadColectivaCLT/