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5 Things to Know: Immigration Advocates Declare Emergency in Charlotte

...and four more stories from July 31-Aug. 6

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The Latin American Coalition headquarters
The Latin American Coalition is headquartered on Central Avenue in east Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of LAC)

Immigration Advocates Declare Emergency in Charlotte

Organizers with the Latin American Coalition held a press conference at their east Charlotte office on Friday to discuss the unprecedented number of immigrants who have arrived in Charlotte in recent months.

In a post on Friday, LAC stated that, beginning in early 2022, the nonprofit began seeing an increase in families coming to Charlotte from detention facilities in Texas. Since May, the Latin American Coalition attended to 1,430 people, 531 of them children, according to the organization. Many of these families arrived with no money and no shelter, only the clothes they were wearing on their backs, the post read. 

A majority of the immigrants are from Venezuela, but others have come from Colombia, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries. Advocates say one reason immigrants are sent to Charlotte is because there is an immigration court here. 

The Latin American Coalition has worked with Charlotte’s Venezuelan Alliance to help families as they arrive, but the influx has tested their capacity to do so. 

“We are in dire need of critical items such as baby formula, food, pots, personal hygiene items and temporary shelter,” organizers wrote on Facebook, adding that the most direct way to help families is to provide temporary financial assistance through gift cards that they can use until the Latin American Coalition can assist them further. 

The Latin American Coalition, which has operated in Charlotte for more than 30 years, has launched a GoFundMe for those who want to help


Robinhood Closes Charlotte Office Amid Layoffs

Stock trading app company Robinhood announced Wednesday it will close its Charlotte office amid massive layoffs at the company, though it’s unclear how many local employees will be affected. Spokesperson Casey Becker declined to tell the Charlotte Observer how many employees were working at the customer support and account operations center in Uptown, though they did state that some would be allowed to stay with the company and work remotely.

The company, which aims to get non-traditional investors involved in stock trading, announced that it would be laying off 23% of its workforce to start August after having already slashed 9% of that workforce in April. 

CEO Vlad Tenev pointed to the “deterioration of the macro environment, with inflation at 40-year highs accompanied by a broad crypto market crash” as the reason for layoffs in a blog post on the Robinhood company website.


Council Member Shares Death Threat

Charlotte City Council member Larken Egleston shared a screenshot of a death threat sent by email to city leaders on Friday that showed a picture of an AR-15 assault rifle and listed the addresses of three Democratic council members and Mayor Vi Lyles, also a Democrat. 

“There are some things about elected office I will definitely not miss,” Egleston wrote in his original tweet, which he later took down and replaced so as to cover up false information about who the sender claimed to be. 

The letter listed the addresses of Mayor Lyles, Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, at-large representative Braxton Winston and District 1 rep Egleston, who will leave office in September after losing an at-large bid in the Democratic primary. The email included a fake name and address, at which the sender claimed to have a 93-page manifesto they wanted released publicly. 

CMPD has deemed the threat not credible, as the person the sender claimed to be was found not to be involved and the picture can be traced online back to 2016., though they still sent patrol units to the homes of those who were threatened on 


City Breaks Ground on Eastland

City officials and developers held a groundbreaking ceremony at the former Eastland Mall site on Wednesday, at which they unveiled some new details about the redevelopment, including a name: Eastland Yards. 

A rendering of Eastland Yards shows a five-story building with lots of outdoor seating
A rendering of Eastland Yards. (Courtesy of Crosland Southeast)

Representatives with development company Crosland Southeast, which had originally partnered with David Tepper’s Tepper Sports & Entertainment to anchor the site, assured those in attendance on Wednesday that Tepper’s decision to back out of the plan would not slow Crosland from moving forward with the redevelopment. 

Eastland Yards will include retail, restaurants and housing, and Crosland is reportedly in discussions with three companies about what will go in the 20 acres of space originally reserved for Tepper’s Charlotte FC Academy. The space will likely be centered on recreation. 

The Eastland Yards site map. (Courtesy of Crosland Southeast)

Developers said they are currently beginning infrastructure construction and expect to go vertical by Q2 2023. Eastland Yards is expected to open sometime in 2024. 


Four Men Killed in Charlotte This Week

Four men were killed in separate incidents of gun violence around Charlotte this week, bringing the total number of killings in the city thus far in 2022 to 74. 

Just before 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to a shooting call on Wallingford Street off West Woodlawn Road in southwest Charlotte, where they found 28-year-old Ishmeal Bash suffering from a gunshot wound. Medic transported Bash to Atrium-Main, where he was pronounced dead. A 31-year-old man was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday and charged with Bash’s murder. 

Just before 7 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a shooting call at a gas station at the intersection of Old Statesville Road and West W.T. Harris Boulevard, where they found 28-year-old James Tyler Brooks dead from a gunshot wound. 

 

Shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to a call for a person who was shot on Nobles Avenue in the Little Rock Apartments in west Charlotte and found 31-year-old James Michael Hinson dead from a gunshot wound. Social media posts from those close to Hinson, who went by Mike, said he was gunned down in front of his 4-year-old daughter. He would have turned 32 on Aug. 7. 

Just before 2 a.m. on Friday, police responded to a shooting call at the Avana Avebury apartments in University City, where they found 25-year-old Ontario Redfern dead from a gunshot wound.


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