A local company owned by an immigrant family took part in a nationwide protest on Thursday.
According to reports, what began as rumblings on social media outlets turned into a nationwide protest on Thursday, as immigrants throughout the United States opted to take the day off on a Day Without Immigrants. Many took part in public protests against the immigration policies of President Donald Trump rather than show up to work.
Companies throughout the country were affected, according to a New York Times story. Even officials at the Pentagon warned employees a number of food concessions normally offered such as Starbucks, Taco Bell and Sbarro’s would be closed when immigrant employees didn’t show up to work.
Surry County didn’t go unaffected by the day’s strike either. On Wednesday, officials at Carolina Carports confirmed the company, owned by Hispanic immigrant family the Herreras, would take part in the day’s protest against the president’s policies.
“Carolina Carports Inc. is proud to be a part of a country that is historically founded by immigrants and stands for freedom and equal rights for all people. CCI was founded by Hispanic Immigrants in 1997,” explains a statement from Adela, Monica and Carolina Herrera.
“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, we reflect on the efforts, sacrifice and the dedication that it has taken to achieve what many people refer to as the ‘American’ dream. We think about all the employees, contractors, dealer representatives and vendors that we have had the pleasure of working with over the years and the many countries and nationalities they represent.”
The statement goes on to note the company was closing its corporate office in Dobson and its divisions located in Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Indiana on Thursday in observance of the day without immigrants.
The statement, distributed by general manager Heather Smith, also explains the intentions behind the companies participation in the protest.
“We will unite to participate in a national ‘Call to Action,’ which we hope will create positive change for the future of our country,” reads the statement. “Carolina Carports Inc. is not just a team, we are a strong family of hard working, honest, loyal employees and contractors who support and love one another and our country.”
While Carolina Carports may not have been the only entity in Surry County to take part in the day without immigrants, it was the only company to issue a public statement.
It was rumored other immigrant-owned companies took part in the protest, including some of Carolina Carports’ competition. However, general manager Chris Davis at Eagle Carports said his company had planned no protest of the type.
“We’ve got too much work to do,” noted Davis.
A message left at TNT Carports was not returned.
According to reports, many children throughout the nation also took part in the protest, opting to not show up at school. However, that wasn’t the case in Mount Airy.
“We don’t know of any students who were out (of school) due to this,” wrote Mount Airy City Schools public information officer Carrie Venable in an email.
Surry County Schools communications director Sonia Dickerson could not state whether students in the county district had played hooky as a result of the protest.
However, the district did report a considerably higher than normal number of absences on Thursday, according to Dickerson. On Wednesday, 591 students missed school, and on Tuesday, 503 were absent. Thursday’s number was nearly three times that of the preceding two days at 1,467.
Dickerson noted if the absences were a result of a student’s participation in the day without immigrants, it would be considered an unexcused absence.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.