RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are more than 50 businesses across the Triangle that closed today and thousands didn’t go to work or school as part of the national “Day Without Immigrants.”
Hundreds gathered in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh this morning where they held signs and chanted to show solidarity with the nationwide boycott.
A similar rally happened in Durham this morning and in other cities across the country.
Those who attended the Durham rally gathered outside of one of the largest Latino-owned business, Super Compare Foods. The store was closed today along with other businesses in the shopping center in a sign of support for the community.
“I feel really truly amazed to see a lot of American people here supporting us. I am very happy that I see a lot of Hispanic people here and that we are not scared to come out and let our voices be heard today,” said Larissa Ponce, who attended the Durham rally.
Another person who attended the event in Durham was Juan Zarazua. He was born in Mexico and came to the United States when he was 8 years old. He has four immigrants working for the company and closed his painting business today.
“I closed my business because my guys didn’t want to come to work. I had really no option, so what I did is I contacted my clients and asked them if it was OK with them. Ninety-nine percent of my clients were absolutely on board to do it,” he said.
The Day Without Immigrants calls for immigrants to not go to school or work and to not shop – it’s a message they hope gets to the Trump administration.
“They make a difference here in our country. They make us more open-minded to different cultures. People say if they are coming from a different country they have to conform to us and that’s not always the case,” said one rally-goer, Ana Bustos.
Organizers are trying to show the impact immigrants have on the nation’s economy while also showing their opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Those who spoke to CBS North Carolina said they are a powerful community and they want to make sure it’s known so they can stop living in fear.
Recent enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have put a lot of immigrants on edge.
“We are people that work pay taxes. And we are here trying to grow our families and do better for our families. We are good people,” said David Salazar with Si a las Licencias.
Martinez said she’s definitely seen concern in the immigrant community over recent ICE actions.
“Everybody’s concerned. A lot of people don’t even want to go out. They don’t want to go shopping, or they’re just afraid to go to work,” she said.
Those who attended the rally in Raleigh hope that while the boycott gets national attention, they also want Gov. Roy Cooper to get the message and speak out about the issues facing immigrant communities across the Triangle and the state.