Actress Rosario Dawson lent her name – and considerable star power – to an uptown demonstration Tuesday during which 10 Latino activists were arrested.
The protest took place at Fifth and College streets and was called by supporters of immigration reform. At one point during the protest, Dawson, who co-starred in the movie “Men in Black II,” grabbed a banner reading “Undocumented” and hoisted it above her head while chanting “Education, not deportation!” She also got on a megaphone and told the immigrants already in jail-transport vans that she admired them.
“That’s what it takes,” she said. “For all of you who just got arrested, I want to commend your bravery. Things will change. We are here with you.”
With rain pouring down, the protestors said they were demanding that the federal government stop deporting immigrants who enter the country illegally, especially when it means separating parents from their children.
Natally Cruz, 24, said she and others arrived in Charlotte by bus from Arizona.
“We don’t want our families separated anymore,” she said. “I have a cousin in a detention center now facing deportation, and I have six family members that have been deported back to Mexico.”
Another protestor praised President Barack Obama for supporting the Dream Act but also noted that more than 1 million people had been deported since his administration began.
“There are collaborations between ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and police officials to where a mother is driving her kids to school, she gets stopped, she gets pulled over, she can get deported and her child is left alone.”
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman said the arrested protestors – all identified as Latino — had sat in the street and refused to move. One man who was arrested kissed his daughter as he was lifted from the ground and placed in handcuffs.
Others shouted slogans such as “Undocumented! Unafraid!”
“On all sides, everyone has dropped the ball,” Dawson said when asked if she was disappointed in the president’s handling of the immigration issue. “It’s necessary to be here and to be talking about these issues.”
Editor’s Note: The Charlotte Observer contributed to this article.