Reports are surfacing about a potential national strike by immigrants this week—the latest in a growing movement to highlight the role immigrants play in the face of Donald Trump’s increasingly harsh crackdown.
According to Washingtonian magazine, a number of local restaurants and other businesses have begun bracing for a national strike on February 16, in which immigrants—particularly those from Latinx communities—have been urged to stay home from work. The grassroots protest has seemingly been organized by word of mouth and across Latinx social media channels.
“One of our delivery men who’s Latino told our kitchen about it, and then it started spreading from there,” Rose Previte, owner of DC’s Compass Rose restaurant, told Washingtonian. “In the kitchen, all but the chef and one line cook are immigrants and asked if they could participate. “My staff was like, ‘We feel this is something we have to do.’ They felt really strongly about it. I was like, ‘Okay, absolutely.’”
While it’s unclear at the moment just how widespread the strike may be both within DC and elsewhere, a video posted to the popular Reforma Migratoria immigration activist page on Facebook calls for participants everywhere to refrain not only from working during the strike, but also shopping, buying gasoline, and sending their children to school.
In Wilmington, NC, activist Maria Castillo has been rallying her community to take part in the protest.
“The United States need to know our presence is strong,” Castillo told local news station WECT. “We are here for a reason. We help the United States in a major way.”
Back in DC, the entire kitchen staff at the farm-to-table gastropub Bar Pilar is planning to participate in the strike, leaving a skeleton crew of employees and volunteers left to support their co-workers in their own way.
“My thoughts were if most of the Latino population is going to take off for the day, then we should try to do our gringo version of Latino food,” chef Jesse Miller told Washingtonian. “And serve them if they want to come in.”
Restaurants aren’t the only businesses planning to be affected by the strike. The Tacoma, MD-based Accounting and Consulting Resources company posted a message on their company website proclaiming:
We believe immigrants make America! Therefore, we will be closed on February 16, 2017 in support of A Day without Immigrants. We will reopen on Friday February 17, 2017.
Thursday’s planned work stoppage comes shortly after Milwaukee, WI, hosted a massive “Day without Latinos” rally on Monday. There, thousands of protesters marched through the city, calling for an end to Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, and local sheriff David Clarke’s efforts to support the president.