Yemeni-American bodega proprietors throughout New York City responded to President Donald Trump‘s executive order targeting Muslim immigrants with a strike and protest in Brooklyn yesterday (February 2).
The Village Voice reports that the strike started with a group of bodega owners of Yemeni descent who met for dinner on Sunday (January 29) and discussed the executive order.
Dubbed the "Muslim ban," it prevents immigrants from Yemen and six other Muslim-majority countries— Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria—from entering the United States for 90 days. The order includes those with visas, green cards and other permanent legal status—a group that the Voice says includes many of these unidentified business owners’ families and community members.
Inspired by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance’s one-hour suspension-of-service during protests at John. F Kennedy Airport, the business owners decided to strike for a day in protest. They reached out to Yemeni-American educator and activist Dr. Debbie Almontaser, who helped them organize.
NPR reports that approximately 1,000 Yemeni-owned bodegas across the city’s five boroughs shuttered their businesses until 8 p.m. Owners, employees and supporters then headed to Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to protest. The Village Voice estimated the crowd numbered into the thousands as people packed the hall’s steps and nearby grounds. The action included a break for Muslim protestors to pray.
Participants tweeted throughout the protest with the hashtags #BodegaStrike and #BodegaProtest. Ten of those tweets:
My Yemeni fam in NYC today protesting #BodegaStrike
Resistance never looked this beautiful #MuslimBan pic.twitter.com/VuCfIwBRqQ
— Hasib N (@ahasnoor) February 2, 2017
Here is an image from #BodegaStrike. #NoBanNoWall pic.twitter.com/9bvdRlJjIO
— Jesse Hamilton (@SenatorHamilton) February 2, 2017
Every single store in South Williamsburg is closed #bodegastrike #MyYemeniNeighbor pic.twitter.com/ZNevWK81ZY
— Mary Emily O’Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) February 2, 2017
#BodegaStrike 1st and 7th ave Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/8lhsPpu2ml
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) February 2, 2017
Prayer right now. Yemeni bodega boycott day and there’s 100s at Borough Hall, and 3 helicopters overhead pic.twitter.com/XT1yAlCbVH
— Julianne Hing (@juliannehing) February 2, 2017
A photo of the #BodegaStrike from my SW BK office. Proud of these NYers! #RESIST pic.twitter.com/p3h4janEMJ
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) February 3, 2017
At the #bodegaprotest pic.twitter.com/HgVcnHzIAx
— Esther Wang (@estherxlwang) February 2, 2017
Thousands of protestors, yet you can hear a pin drop during prayer. Beautiful #BodegaProtest pic.twitter.com/KBgl3ZWMJD
— Ali Baydoun (@_Ali__B) February 3, 2017
Thousands gathered at Boro Hall Brooklyn for the #BodegaStrike rally pic.twitter.com/G8EXi2vVif
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) February 2, 2017
Next generation of Yemeni activists! Proud to see them at #bodegaprotest supporting #BodegaStrike! Thank U Evan Carter! Role models tagged! pic.twitter.com/CXdWPssUth
— Dr.Debbie Almontaser (@DebbiAlmontaser) February 3, 2017
The #BodegaStrike also received cross-movement support. Constance Malcolm led a protest demanding justice for her son Ramarley Graham, who was killed by NYPD officer Richard Haste in 2012, over the Brooklyn Bridge to join the bodega workers in solidarity. Yesterday marked five years since Graham’s death.
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