By VERONICA SPAGNA
America’s new political situation seems to focus on segregating immigrants from their families and their homes but, within this alarming situation, something positive is being created. The unification of immigrants and non-immigrants to stand and fight together for their rights, bringing to the surface the humanity and acceptance that there is and that should be encouraged.
“A Day Without Immigrants” is a boycott that occurred on Thursday, encouraged by activists to all Immigrants around the nation to protest and highlight the importance and contribution of their presence in the United States.
This boycott encouraged the protesters to not attend work, not send children to school, not shop online or in stores, not to eat at restaurants, not to buy gas and not to attend class.
President Donald Trump has created bad relations with numerous countries, such as Mexico and Syria, by making them outsiders and wanting to kick their citizens out of America. Trump has vowed to deprive sanctuary cities of federal funding, increase the deportation of legal and illegal immigrants, and he has blamed the high unemployment rate on them.
In response to these recent events involving Donald Trump’s immigration policies, immigrants all around the nation went on strike to send a message to the president.
On the poster advertising the boycott, it said: “To the president: without us and our contribution this country is paralyzed.”
Awareness of this protest mainly happened through social media and posters, in addition to immigrant rights groups reaching out personally. This protest was meant to involve all undocumented, residents, citizens, immigrants from all over the world, but ended up getting more support.
All around the United States, business and restaurants were closed and thousands of students did not attend school. Some of the most visibly affected areas were in San Francisco and Washington, D.C, where popular chefs closed their restaurants in support for the protest.
Restaurants were the most impacted by the strike. Some restaurants canceled their long-standing reservations and served limited menus, donating earnings to the American Civil Liberties Union. The collaboration of not just immigrants alone, but even citizens, emphasizes the acceptance and unity that the United States is known to have by embracing its diversity.
There were restaurants that posted banners outside their establishments to spread the message. Such as Nickel’s Diner in Los Angeles, that put up a sign saying “We are all immigrants.”
Some immigrant communities discouraged the participation in this protest because it was risky and did not want to put immigrants in a more difficult situation. Many immigrants stated that they really wish they could participate in this boycott but could not risk losing their jobs. Nevertheless, they fully supported the protest.
Organizers of this protest warned the participators that there was a possibility of risk when getting involved in this boycott, but that they needed to be ready to take that risk. If you have a life somewhere, a life that includes your friends, your family, your education, your job and your home; the idea that one day you may have nothing is terrifying.
Understandably, you have to fight to not lose everything you have. To me, it makes sense that many immigrants are willing to take this risk.
The protest “A Day Without Immigrants” is a way of sending a direct message indirectly, by highlighting the role of immigrants in the life of Americans by not having them there.
Having many immigrants stay home for a day, impacts everyone’s everyday life in different ways. It is unfair that entire communities are criminalized, there are bad and good people everywhere. It is good to see people come together and fight for their dignity and their lives.