DALLAS, TX -- Hundreds of North Texas Latinos took to the streets during their Labor Day holiday to show they've had it with what they consider to be anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican rhetoric from Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The group is also encouraging Latinos who are eligible to vote to register and participate in the 2016 election.
Carlos Quintanilla, 57, a well-known Latino activist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, told NBC News this is not just a one-day thing.
“We’ve become Donald Trump’s piñata,” said Quintanilla to NBC News during one of the many committee meetings he held this past weekend with his small group of ‘soldiers’ before Monday's rally.
On Monday, Quintanilla told the hundreds who came from surrounding cities to hear him and other speakers that this would be the first of several ‘A Day Without Trump’ rallies. Come Sept. 14, when Trump holds his first rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, they’ll do it again.
Quintanilla and a small group of six, along with nearly 60 volunteers, had been working tirelessly for the last three weeks – making and selling T-shirts, passing out flyers and sharing their message through social media – he said, to let Trump know Latinos will no longer welcome disrespect.
Gil Cerda, a former Dallas police officer who joined forces with Quintanilla, says one of the biggest problems is that Trump continues to say Latinos are for him.
“Mr. Trump, our message to you is simple: ‘No, we don’t love you.’ That’s an incorrect statement,” said Cerda.
“We deplore, we do not accept and we do not like the comments that you’re just freely sending out to the rest of the United States about our people,” he added.
When approached for an interview, Trump campaign officials declined to comment on both the rallies or on Trump’s visit to North Texas next week.
At the rally, people gravitated toward Quintanilla. Some hugged him and others thanked him for his efforts to stand up to Trump.
"Carlos, great work, man. I saw it on Facebook. We need more people like you,” said a bystander who introduces himself to Quintanilla.
Quintanilla said to people in the crowd the work is really for his children, and his fellow activists agree.
The group unanimously said the most hurtful remarks included the term ‘anchor baby,’ used to describe the American-born children of undocumented parents. But a last straw came when Trump blatantly had Univision anchor Jorge Ramos removed from a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa, for speaking out of line, said those in attendance.
Ever Estrada, 35, and his wife Priscila, brought their four children, ages 6 to 14, to the rally Monday. Dressed in matching shirts purchased from event organizers, they held signs in support of the cause, as they also celebrated their son’s 8th birthday.
All part of a lesson, said Estrada, to teach his children that community involvement is just as important as standing up for themselves, and vital to do as a family.
“Latinos by nature, unfortunately, tend to stay home,” said the resident of Balch Springs, Texas, in Spanish. "I think we’re losing our sensitivity with our own community.”
--Reporting and video from NBC News contributor Vanessa Alvarez.