'Day without Latinos' standoff to take place Thursday

Published: Feb. 13, 2017 at 3:12 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2017 at 7:55 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - "Liberation not Deportation." That is the message one Wilmington resident is hoping to convey to the community. Maria Castillo is working to organize a Latino standoff Thursday, Feb. 16.

Castillo hopes on Thursday, fellow Hispanics will not go to work, not send their children to school, not eat out in restaurants or buy items in stores.

She hopes Hispanics will stay home and just be invisible, so the nation can see what Hispanics do for the country.

"The United States need to know our presence is strong. We are here for a reason. We help the United States in a major way," said Castillo.

Castillo says her fellow Latinos play a huge role in our workforce and are not a threat to society like she believes President Trump conveys with the recent deportations.

"They go and do the work Americans won't do. They pick strawberries, blueberries. Every produce you have, Latino hands have touched that," Castillo explained.

At Los Portales Supermarket on Kerr Avenue in Wilmington, owner Miguelangel Villasenor said he is getting on board with Castillo's efforts and will close his shop on Thursday to help make a statement.

"I hope that this is going to work and help Latinos. We are in this country already. We are not taking anyone's jobs. We are helping the economy, " said Villasenor.

Villasenor employees 30 Latinos alone and has been open 12 years.

Castillo also believes many are community are living in fear and panic, and don't know what their future holds.

"They are nervous. They are scared. They are worried for their families," Castillo said. "There are a lot of people here that are immigrants. The mom and the dad, they get deported okay. What happens to the kid?"

Maria said she wants people to see her community as human beings and not just illegals or immigrants.

"I want the Latinos to feel empowered and not low," she said.

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