DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Vendors of a predominately LatinX flea market in Durham say they were mistreated by city staff members.
The allegations came after city staff notified vendors of the flea market on East Club Boulevard at Roxboro Road that the lot the use is North Carolina Department of Transportation land.
“This is a very special place, like the iconic LatinX plaza in a way,” said Alexandra Valladares, a community organizer in Durham.
Valladares tells CBS 17 when they heard other flea markets complain about them last month, vendors reached out to the city to double-check they were allowed to be here.
“They [vendors] had not heard back since that day they made the request, on June 28, and on July 18, they get two people from the city effectively evicting them from the lot,” she said.
Roy Mason said he was at the flea market assisting a disabled vendor when city staff stopped by.
“Telling them they had to leave or they’re gonna get in trouble and making people that don’t speak English; our Latino brothers and sisters, sign a piece of paper using scare tactics,” Mason said.
The City of Durham released a statement saying staff followed proper protocol, but recognized the situation could have been handled in a more sensitive manner considering the LatinX community is being hit hard by COVID-19.
“People have a way of making money especially in the COVID-19 aftermath. These people are surviving, they live out here every day,” said Mason.
Valladares is now working with the city to help find another location for the flea market. They plan on meeting Tuesday.
“Pretty much the main message was, treat us with divinity. And the approach, let’s figure out a better approach and let’s also work together to find a solution,” she said.
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