LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy said Thursday it plans "the largest rally in U.S. history against Wal-Mart" on Saturday, June 30, to protest Wal-Mart's plan to open a Neighborhood Market in Chinatown.
The rally is being billed as "a march against low-wage jobs." In a video released in conjunction with publicity on the march, a LAANE spokeswoman said Wal-Mart has "a reputation as a predatory company" that pays people so little, they must rely on public assistance. The video also says the opening of a Neighborhood Market in the close-knit Chinatown community would mean a lot of small Chinese-owned businesses in the area would have to close.
However, a group of Chinese community leaders — from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Asian Business Association and the tenant association representing the space where the store will open — made public a letter they sent to residents of Chinatown expressing their full support for the store. "We ask that you join us in supporting this grocery store that has long been missing from our community," the letter said.
"For over 20 years we have watched mainstream grocery retailers neglect the space [where Wal-Mart will operate the Neighborhood Market]. At 33,000 square feet, this space was designed specifically to provide our community with more fresh grocery options, yet no grocer was willing to invest."
The letter said the market would sell local foods and bakery goods and bring new people to Chinatown to shop in local stores. "The potential this market brings to our community is tremendous. However, unions and special interest groups from outside Chinatown are utilizing stall tactics to stop the store from being built and deny our community the benefits of an anchor retailer. They are playing political games with our community. This is not right."