Thursday, March 23, 2006

Business owners' message to police: protect us against crime, not immigration; public meeting tonight

According to this article in the Tennessean, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce* has requested that the Metro Police department adopt a policy banning immigration-related inquiries, citing the recent violent crimes against Hispanic families and businesses in Nashville and the concern that immigration investigations impede crime-solving.

In a letter yesterday (published here by the Tennessean), the Chamber explained its reasoning and offered to meet with the Chief of Police Ronal Serpas, Mayor Bill Purcell, Governor Phil Bredesen, and the Tennessee Human Relations Commission.

Chief Serpas responded immediately but cautioned that no formal policy would be adopted. "Please understand that it would be improper for this department to implement a written policy that would preclude enforcement of any legislative act," Serpas said in a letter issued last night.

The public is invited to tonight's meeting:

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
announces its 1st 2006 Hispanic Businesses Forum:

Crime and Law Enforcement
"Listenning to the problem, the first step towards finding solutions"

You are invited to participate and share your views with the community. The offices of the Mayor, Governor and Metro Nashville Police Department have been asked to participate with local Hispanic Business owners in South Nashville to discuss increasing criminal activity in our neighborhoods and the need for solutions and better avenues for communication. Recent tragic events have resulted in the loss of several members of our Hispanic community victims to crime. Most recently Mr. Aureliano Ceja, operator of La Hacienda Restaurant, a Nashville dining landmark for Hispanics and Anglos alike, died as a result of a robbery.

This tragedy prompted an emergency meeting last Monday night where more than 30 business leaders met to express their concerns and outline information to share with the Police Department and other local authorities. Today we will create an opportunity for their voices to be heard. A petition accompanied by the signatures of more than 120 business owners was hand delivered yesterday to Chief Ronal Serpas and the NMPD. His inmediate response reflects support and concern about what affects us, addressing the need to continue improving the lines of communication between his department and our Hispanic community.

Please join us!
March 23rd 2006
5:30 pm to 9 pm
Sal√≥n de Fiestas “Fantasy Hall”
located at 2332 Antioch Pike, Antioch, TN 37013.

For additional information please call NAHCC 216-5737

*There are two Hispanic chambers of commerce based in Nashville: the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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