Members of the Cuban community in Louisville, Kentucky, held a rally supporting a local immigrant-owned restaurant that was reportedly threatened by Black Lives Matter protesters.
Dozens of rallygoers stood in the city’s NuLu district, which is known for its locally owned establishments, to push back against demands that businesses in the area hire more black employees.
“We’re here to work. We’re dreamers. We’re people who love freedom and love this country,” rally organizer, business owner, and Cuban immigrant Fernando Martinez said about Cuban Americans. “This is not a race fight. This is an idea fight.”
Martinez is a partner of the Olé Restaurant Group, which was one of dozens of businesses in the NuLu district that received a letter from Black Lives Matter protesters demanding more black people be represented in the restaurants and shops in protest of gentrification in the area. The list of demands, which protesters want business owners to sign, calls for diversity training, businesses to match representation of black employees with the city's population (23%), and donations of 1.5% of revenue to Black Lives Matter on a monthly basis.
Martinez said he was confronted by a group of protesters last week outside his restaurant, La Bodeguita de Mima. He has said on social media that protesters making demands were using “mafia tactics” to bully businesses into acquiescing.
"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," Martinez wrote in a Facebook post. "... All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?"