‘A Day Without Immigrants’: Local businesses take part in national protest

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nationwide, businesses and employees are boycotting for The Day Without Immigrants Movement.

The nationwide boycott included people right here in Central Virginia.

Local business owners told 8News they are fighting for the rights of the entire immigrant community.

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If you drove down Hull Street on Thursday, you probably noticed multiple businesses were closed.

Those who participate said the boycott stands for so much more than just the economic impact, but also about standing up for the whole community. They say there is strength in numbers.

“Not only with the Hispanic, but with everybody in the community, together we are stronger as one,” business owner Nazira Caverera told 8News.

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Caverera has been an American citizen for over 20 years, but says after seeing the fear being spread to those around her, she had to step up and help.

“I can’t just pretend that this isn’t happening to my community,” Caverera said.

She closed her business on Thursday, but her involvement stretches back even further.

“As soon as all this started, a couple people called me and they were advised that they needed to find someone with a citizenship to be in charge of their kids in case they got deported,” Caverera said.

She  said she can’t imagine having to make that decision, but she had no problem telling her friends ‘yes.’

“I don’t have to be in their shoes, but I can feel their pain and suffering,” Carerera said.

Another business owner, Natasha Lemus, said a majority of her clients are immigrants and to see all the support was inspiring.

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“I went down Hull Street and it looked beautiful,” Lemus said. “Everything closed and silent, I loved it.”

And she loved seeing everyone put people before a profit.

“A dollar more and a dollar less isn’t going to kill us,” Lemus said. “Our people are important.”

She said it also shows that immigrant-owned businesses are an important part of this community.

“All businesses are closed,” Lemus said. “This means that if raids keep going and we don’t take action this is how our businesses are going to be for a long time.”

A rally is scheduled Thursday night in support of the ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ movement.  Immigrants and anyone from the community are invited to attend and share their thoughts about what is happening within Central Virginia when it comes to immigration.

The rally will be held at 6947 Hull Street Road in North Chesterfield.

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