Earlier this month, a group of Mexican mothers were kicked out of a public pool in Hendersonville, North Carolina, for listening to Spanish-language music. The women were escorted by police officers after being reported by another person.
The event happened last Monday, July 12 at the Flex Fitness and Recreation Center pool where the eight women and their kids were having a fun time and decided to play music on a speaker. However, according to them, the fact that the music was in Spanish bothered one white woman in particular who complained to management.
The situation escalated to such an extent that the women were forced to leave the site under police escort. When the argument started, several of the women began to record the situation and a woman who was at the scene made a TikTok video that has since gone viral. In the video, one of the women explains the situation to an officer, telling him that the manager disconnected the music speaker in a disrespectful manner.
Wondering what happens when our gente are not allowed to experience joy within their communities? THIS is what happens?. pic.twitter.com/kurBTR0coU
— Poder NC Action (@PoderNCAction) July 14, 2021
The women were part of Zum-garu, a Zumba group that practices together. Verónica Ramírez is the Zumba instructor and was part of the group. After the incident at the pool, she said that the next day she received an eviction notice to leave the space where she teaches Zumba classes.
“I feel sad, frustrated, I don’t know where to go. It’s unbelievable to me what is happening. They didn’t respect that there were children there. They are still asking if the police are going to come and get them. We were treated like criminals,” Ramírez told Latino Rebels on Wednesday.
Ramírez had been at the Zumba place for a year and said she doesn’t know what to do because she has nowhere to work. She is a single mother of two. She is still processing what happened and said she cries a lot because she feels helpless.
On July 16, some of the women participated in a rally at the state capitol along with the organization Poder NC Action.
Recap from ‘Our Joyful Resistance’ rally on Saturday at the NC State Capitol. We are grateful to all of our gente that pulled up in support for the Hendersonville families.
Black and brown people deserve respect, safety, and to experience JOY everywhere. This is our home too. pic.twitter.com/tdW9jwqy1r
— Poder NC Action (@PoderNCAction) July 19, 2021
So far, there is no known ongoing investigation into the incident but the women want the authorities to release the details leading up to the video and the moment the police arrive. One of Ramírez’s friends is raising money on GoFundMe to help the women get support.
Ramírez said she and the women are hoping for some help so they can go on with their lives without fear of retaliation.
Juanita Ramos Ardila is a Colombian journalist who has written for El Tiempo and ColPrensa. An M.A. Journalism candidate at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Juanita is also Latino Rebels’ 2021 Summer Correspondent. Twitter: @JuanitaRamosA.