The Carrboro Board of Aldermen unanimously rescinded the town’s anti-loitering ordinance, which had previously made it a misdemeanor for any person to “stand, sit, recline, linger, or otherwise remain” on the corner of Jones Ferry and Davie Roads between 11AM and 5AM. This corner is the gathering place for predominantly Latino day laborers to find employment in Carrboro. The ordinance’s rescission culminates a four month campaign against the ordinance led by SCSJ, beginning with a letter from SCSJ staff attorney Chris Brook highlighting the ordinance’s unconstitutionality continuing through a press conference noting how the ordinance made it harder for day laborers to find work and ultimately leading to the unanimous vote.
Ordinance opponents jammed Carrboro Town Hall Tuesday evening with speaker after speaker underlining how the ordinance was inconsistent with Carrboro’s worker and immigrant friendly reputation. Amongst these speakers were three Latino day laborers who had lost work opportunities during the four years the ordinance was in place. “I respect the community. I respect the police. All I want is to work,” said day laborer Santiago Hernandez. Town Hall erupted in applause at the close of the Board’s vote to rescind.
“Carrboro residents, more than 150 of whom signed a letter to the Board of Aldermen calling for the ordinance’s repeal, made their voices heard loud and clear on this issue,” said SCSJ staff attorney Chris Brook. “Its repeal is a victory for the dignity of individuals simply seeking to put food on their families’ tables. We applaud the Board for rescinding this ordinance and hope it is the first step in bringing Carrboro together to collaboratively and creatively address the challenges facing day laborers in our community.”
In addition to the more than 150 Carrboro residents signing onto the letter to Board of Aldermen, the effort to rescind the ordinance mobilized an unprecedented number of groups in community including SCSJ, the UNC Center for Civil Rights, the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, the Carolina Law Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic, the Carolina Law Civil Clinic, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro branch of the NAACP, the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights Center, the ACLU of North Carolina, the North Carolina Justice Center, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the N.C. Immigrant Rights Project.