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In Los Angeles, Fellow Immigrants Close Shop

A store displays its closed sign Monday, next to a promotional poster for the "Marcha" in Spanish.
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A store displays its closed sign Monday, next to a promotional poster for the "Marcha" in Spanish.

In Los Angeles, Koreatown merchants are closing their businesses and factories so thousands of workers can take part in the national immigrant boycott and march. Korean merchants employ between 30,000 and 50,000 mostly Latino workers.

By most accounts, the idea for a national boycott started in Los Angeles. And as marchers clogged many cities in the United States, many parts of Los Angeles were feeling the impact, from Koreatown to a huge section of downtown that is a major food supplier to the region.

Across the city, many stores, restaurants and work sites closed voluntarity, and customers stayed home as part of the economic boycott. Many Korean merchants say their Latino workers asked for the day off to go to demonstrations. Numerous immigrant employees and high school students didn't show up for work or school, but others said they didn't want to lose a day's pay.

But many of those who showed up for work Monday also planned on going to the rallies, either before or after their shifts.

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Mandalit del Barco
As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition,, and