The Cuban-American community of Louisville, Kentucky, is resisting the demands that Black Lives Matter activists want to impose upon businesses in the “New Louisville” (NuLu) neighborhood of the city.
The Courier-Journal reported details from a media release regarding a July 24 BLM protest, spurring Cuban-Americans to take a stand. Activists forced the closure of businesses on East Market Street as a result of their demonstration.
Business owners such as Fernando Martinez, owner of La Bodeguita de Mima, were handed a list of demanded changes by activists, along with a threat that if they didn’t want their businesses “f-ed with,” they must post the letter visibly in their storefronts.
According to the activists’ document of demands, the alleged sin of NuLu businesses is that they have brought “destruction … to low-income communities, specifically those with majority black residents.”
Because of the development of the area and its accompanying businesses — ultimately increasing standard-of-living costs in the neighborhood — low-income families allegedly are being displaced because they no longer can afford to live there, a process referred to as gentrification.
The solution to the problem is to impose “representation and reparations,” including a minimum of 23% black staff members, 23% minimum inventory purchased from black-owned businesses, required “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training” for employees from an approved list of educational vendors, visibly “show support for the reparations movement” on the premises of the business, and non-profits must submit their Board of Trustees to an “external audit” while actively working toward a minimum 23% of black staff.
For fear of danger, Martinez closed his shop for a couple of days, diminishing the pay of “30+ staff members (mostly immigrants).”
But these “mafia tactics,” as labeled by him, weren’t going to fly with NuLu’s Cuban-Americans.
The Courier-Journal reports that Martinez took to Facebook to criticize the hostility of the movement: “There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in. … All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?”
Cuban-Americans of Louisville demonstrated their solidarity with Martinez in a rally organized by the Cuban-American Association of Kentucky last Sunday, according to WLKY-TV.
Martinez spoke at the rally, saying: “There are people out there who are trying to define who I am as a man, who I am as a businessman, and who we are as a community. We need to come together as a community. We’re not an enemy of the Black community. The Cuban community is not the enemy of the Black community.”
The association’s president, Berta Wayenberg, chastised the BLM activists, declaring, “There were some groups that definitely don’t represent the African-American community, but some people were here last week, threatening them, bullying them, and we decided no we don’t want that.”
Even Ahamara Brewster, a Revolutionary Black Panther Party general and advocate for BLM’s demands for “representation and reparations,” disavowed the behavior of her fellow activists against the Cuban restaurant:
“You’re attacking a Black-brown establishment, but you’re in the name of Black Lives Matter? Wait a minute, something’s weird about this.”
Ultimately, Martinez and the rest of the Cuban-American community are calling for unity at a time when the diversity of Americans is being utilized for political division:
“La Bodeguita is open to everybody. If you’re gay, this is your home. If you’re Black, this is your home. If you’re White, this is your home. If you’re human, this is your home,” he said, according to WLKY-TV.
Although the dividing voice of BLM roars with great volume because of its frequent broadcast, only the message of unity will rally Americans together despite differences and bring about change for the betterment of the country.
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