Management, workers and customers at the Home Depot on Charles St in Providence were surprised on Saturday by over a dozen demonstrators protesting at the store in reaction to the political support given to President-elect Donald Trump by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. The demonstration was organized by Cosecha Providence, a group that is still in the process of forming. Nationally, Movimiento Cosecha is “a popular movement for the permanent protection, respect and dignity of the immigrant community.”
The demonstrators entered the store with signs, bullhorn and chants. They stood near the front of the store for about 21 minutes before the Providence Police arrived and moved the demonstration to the sidewalk. The event was entirely peaceful. Customer reaction ranged from supportive to annoyed. One customer started pumping his fist in the air, saying, “Trump! Trump! Trump!” in reaction to the demonstrators, the latest form of racial invective.
This event and an earlier one in Boston mark the beginning of Cosecha’s #MigrantBoycott, a strategy of “targeting national corporations that profit from immigrant buyers until nobody in this country can go to a store without thinking of the immigrant community.” Cosecha believes “that immigrants’ true power is as workers and consumers. Without undocumented folks working and buying every day, this country would not be able to function. The #MigrantBoycott is building momentum towards a general strike of millions of workers and students to win permanent protection, respect, and dignity for the entire undocumented community.”
Cosecha is collecting 100,000 pledges to launch the national boycott. Pledges can be made by texting boycott to 41411 or by going here.
“The undocumented community is a huge part of Home Depot’s workforce, clientele, and success,” said the description of the Providence event on Facebook. “However, Home Depot turned its back on this very community when co founder Bernie Marcus endorsed and donated to the Trump campaign. Our community knows that under Trump, undocumented immigrants will be at more risk than ever. Our tried and true methods for change will not be enough. Undocumented workers will only win permanent protection, respect, and dignity by forcing this country to recognize our existence. We have our consumer power to show how much this country depends on us.”