Durham group holds meeting to address concerns among Hispanic community
Posted November 16, 2016
Updated November 17, 2016
Durham, N.C. — El Centro Hispano, in Durham, held a meeting Thursday night to address growing concerns among the community following Donald Trump being elected as the next presidents of the United States.
Workers at El Centro Hispano said they have fielded dozens of calls from those who are worried not only for themselves, but for their children.
"I'm saddened and also disappointed in how things are moving along, where we had gained some momentum for progress, it seems like we're going backwards," said Judith Montenegro.
Teachers told workers that some students are afraid to come to school, worried their parents may be deported while they are away.
"They're calling our kids immigrants, illegals, go to your house, things like that and it's cruel for our kids," said Maria Luis.
Luis is concerned about kids like 13-year-old Monica Duran-Castillo. Castillo said that while she hasn't experienced any negative reaction at her charter school since the election, she is concerned about what the future holds for her family.
"One of my dreams is my parents being allowed here, being treated as who they are," Castillo said.
Castillo was born in the United States but her parents are immigrants, like many of the families at Thursday's meeting. Immigration attorneys were part of the panel, offering advice and hope.
"There's lots of people in their corner and there are still avenues for relief available," said attorney Jack Rocker.
Adults said overt discrimination is becoming more common.
"One person was in the bank and a guy in front of him turned and said, 'The wall is coming,' and things like that," said Pilar Rocha-Goldberg. "Another case, a woman was in a restaurant and another woman called the police and said, "Please take her away because she's Mexican."
The meeting was the first in a series planned by El Centro. The next meeting is scheduled for next week in Carrboro.