Yesterday, February 16th, 2017, restaurants across the country kept their doors locked out of solidarity for the ‘Day Without Immigrants’ — a protest aimed at countering President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and his overall attitude towards the issue. Knowing that Austin, Texas would strongly support the cause, I ventured out over the lunch hour to see what kind of impact this protest would have on my neighborhood.
Traveling no more than a few miles from my home, it became clear very quickly that the vast majority of restaurants didn’t open that morning. And while the city still bustled about, as it would any other weekday, there was a certain stillness that surrounded these closed eateries. Make no mistake, this was a big deal — even fast food chains like McDonald’s were unable to keep locations fully-functional.
As thousands of weird Austinites took to the streets in protest, parking lots and drive thru lines normally brimming with cars and customers sat vacant, and these quiet restaurants spoke volumes about the vital role immigrants play in the city’s beloved restaurant scene. With signs taped to their doors, here’s how the restaurants in my south Austin neighborhood chose to voice their support.