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Immigrants, Businesses Prepare For “A Day Without Immigrants” Strike In DC Tomorrow

 

On the heels of the “Day Without Latinos” strike in Wisconsin and the Yemeni-American grocers strike in New York City, immigrants will hold “A Day Without Immigrants” in Washington, DC tomorrow.

The campaign — meant to show the impact immigrant workers have on the local and national economies — appears to have “largely spread through word of mouth, paper and electronic fliers, and Facebook,” according to one outlet.

“One flier that’s been circulating calls on immigrants not to go to work, open businesses, shop, eat in restaurants, buy gas, go to classes, or send children to school.”

The event has drawn the support of restaurateurs like Chef Jose Andres, who tweeted that he would not open his local restaurants in support of the strike.

“From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the US,” replied NCLR President Janet Murguia.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be closed for #ADayWithoutaimmigrants,” wrote another local business on Facebook. “Toli Moli would not exist without immigrants. Both Chef JoJo and Eric are immigrants. Many of our staff, past and present, are either immigrants or first generation Americans.”

“We are in the business of sweetening snack time, and there is nothing sweeter than a legacy that honors our diverse families and ancestors.”

Another business that will stand with immigrants tomorrow wrote, “We’re one big family at Bangkok Golden and Thip Khao and in solidarity with our staff and friends, we’ll be closed tomorrow and join A Day Without Immigrants.”

While the number of attendees has not yet been confirmed, it sounds like “A Day Without Immigrants” could bring some restaurants and businesses to a standstill — and that’s exactly the point.

Whether you’re eating out or preparing a meal at home, immigrants helped get those ingredients to you. America needs immigrants just as much as immigrants need America, and the right thing to do is to let undocumented workers and families become a part of this country on paper, not cast them out.

More from the Washingtonian below:

“One of our delivery men who’s Latino told our kitchen about it, and then it started spreading from there,” says Compass Rose owner Rose Previte. 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.’” Previte says a friend and at least one manager have offered to help keep the kitchen running on Thursday.

Compass Rose is also preparing for limited deliveries on Thursday. After all, many of the drivers are immigrants. “We’re just going to go with what we have that day and tell customers, ‘This is what happens when immigrants don’t come to work,’” Previte says.

A senior account manager for Lyon Bakery emailed restaurants yesterday to say the strike could disrupt deliveries: “With this is mind, we are encouraging our clients to double up their orders on Tuesday for delivery on Wednesday, as our Thursday deliveries may experience delays.”

At Bar Pilar, the entire kitchen staff will be participating in the protest, “which leaves just me,” says chef Jesse Miller. The bar anticipates being down 17 employees in total on Thursday, including food runners, bussers, and bartenders. In a show of support, Miller (with the help of a few friends) is swapping the regular menu for a limited selection Latin American dishes. “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 and serve them if they want to come in,” Miller says.

Some of Bar Pilar’s front-of-house staff have pledged their tips from the night to their absent colleagues, and a portion of cocktail sales will go to the American Immigration Council.

Others are considering possibly shutting down for the day. Mezcalero and El Sol chef and owner Alfredo Solis, a Mexican immigrant himself, says he’s still trying to gauge how many of his employees—the majority of whom are Latino immigrants—will participate in the protest and how many want to work in order to have a paycheck. “I have to support my team. Whatever their decision is, that’s going to be my decision,” he says. “If they’re not going to come to work, I will have to close my two locations.”