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Monday, May 21, 2018

Mexicans protest against lawyer who shouted at Spanish speakers

Por Damian

Dozens of members of the Mexican community in New York, accompanied by a group of mariachis, demonstrated Friday in front of the old offices and the house of an American lawyer who complained this week about clients and workers of a Manhattan restaurant because they talked in Spanish, reported El Nuevo Herald.

The New Yorkers, surprised by the music, took pictures on Friday of the protest in which several Mexicans denounced the verbal attack of the lawyer and distributed official complaints to send to a disciplinary committee of lawyers. To the rhythm of the music and with posters saying "Spanish is spoken" and "Racism: not good", protesters called for the disabling of Aaron Schlossberg, whose shouts against people who spoke Spanish were captured on Wednesday in a video made viral.

"If this man keep his license, then we will continue to be exposed to insults", said Teresa Garcia, a 48-year-old Mexican. "I felt outraged when I saw the video. He speaks to people who speak Spanish, as if we were all undocumented immigrants. Some of us were born here. "

In the video, Schlossberg says he will call the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Services to expel workers "from my country". He also tells a restaurant manager that this is "America" and that in a Manhattan restaurant "people should speak English".

The video quickly received much criticism, including those of Hispanic Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx County President Rubén Díaz Jr. who wrote to the New York State court system to denounce Schlossberg. In their letter, they described the video as "infamous" and described the verbal attack by the lawyer on innocent people in a public place as a "violation of our civil society."

On Friday, several children with instruments and the traditional Mariachi costume joined the band and played with it amid applause from the protesters. "Long live our language, Spanish!" Shouted Blandi Medina, a 42-year-old Mexican activist, through a loudspeaker. "We demand that our language be respected. Why are we being disrespected in this way?".

Protesters organized a second protest in front of the Schlossberg apartment, also in Manhattan. The lawyer did not appear. The company that manages the building where the Schlossberg office is located said Thursday it had canceled its agreement with the lawyer because its actions "went against" the rules and regulations.

Inside the restaurant where the video was recorded, worker Fidel De Jesus said the incident began when he spoke in Spanish to a regular client of the establishment. De Jesus explained that he then saw Schlossberg recording him with his phone. Then he told him to speak in English, the worker told The Associated Press. The client defended De Jesus, and she and Schlossberg started arguing.

"I was in shock. I felt a little helpless but mostly in shock, "said De Jesus, a 27-year-old Mexican from the state of Guerrero who has been working in the United States for almost a decade. The Mexican said he was a bit nervous because Schlossberg took him the video and threatened to report him to the immigration authorities.

Employees of the city's Human Rights Commission stood on Friday in front of the restaurant to inform New Yorkers of their rights if they suffer discrimination or harassment. New York has a human rights law that protects against discrimination based on immigration status or nationality.