I was unable to blog about the conversations in Centreville, VA regarding the establishment of a new day labor center. I’ve been pleased and surprised by the tone of the conversation–that is, they are actually having conversations in Centreville about what to do about day laborers who congregate in places that the neighborhood residents clearly see as inappropriate places:
That said, the immigrants’ presence in Centreville has unquestionably been a nuisance, and their own bad behavior is partly to blame. Numerous people complained that men awaiting jobs regularly intimidated women and girls with leers, ogling and lecherous comments.
The problem has been particularly bad outside the Centreville Regional Library, near a housing complex where many day laborers live.
“It was scary to come to the library. I’d tell my daughter, who’s 14, ‘Hey, don’t go outside,’ ” said Pamela Jordan, 39.
Center supporter Foltz said he couldn’t defend such conduct. But he said it would be easier to prevent such problems if the day laborers were supervised at an established venue.
It would be great if a few of the community activists–those who support the immigrants and hosting a day labor center–would take a moment and go talk to the men who are congregating around the library. They could give a mini-course on appropriate behavior. They could also let the men know that by being inappropriate, they risk bringing on hostility from residents when the inevitably loose patience with the men. I just wish people would try the education approach before things get out of hand. It’s worked in other places. It can work here, too.