Thousands march for A Day Without Immigrants

CHARLOTTE, NC– “I was actually in tears, just to see the outcome of this event,” said A Piece of Havana Owner, Belkis Vargas.

Belkis Vargas is an American citizen, immigrated from Cuba and owns A Piece of Havana restaurant on South Tryon Street. The sign on the door shows her support for fellow immigrants.

“We have to actually help out our brothers and sisters, our friends our community and the least I can do is close my business for them for support,” said Vargas.

Vargas and her employees joined thousands in Uptown Thursday marching against President Trump’s stance on immigrants.

“We are not criminals, that’s what I keep on saying we’re not criminals,” said A Piece of Havana employee, Hamed Cerna.

Some 250 businesses closed their doors. One of the biggest, Compare Foods, with six stores in the Charlotte area.

“About 800 employees and we encouraged all our employees and all our customers to come join this activity here in Marshall Park and Uptown and Uptown Charlotte,” said Omar Jorge with Compare Foods.

Not all of the protesters were Latino.

“It’s a very complicated issue but simple answers don’t work and you need to be fair and realistic,” said protester George Bohmfalk.

Not all the businesses closed were Latino-owned, many closed to show support for employees. Blue Wave Express car wash on Albemarle Road. Fish Market at Baxter Village posted a note saying the crushing impact they would feel without foreign-born workers. Entire strip malls, shut down.

“A one day wake up call to everyone we’re here we’re important to this community, we’re a positive influence to this community,” said Jorge.

While protesters did use their voices, many say action is a stronger message.

“We have an impact on the economy of the United States,” said Vargas.