Yemeni business owners are taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban by shutting things down in New York City. It’s the latest round in what could be a state of never-ending protest during the Trump’s White House term and it’s lined up just in time for Groundhog Day.
As noted by Buzzfeed, February 2nd will see more than 1,000 Yemeni American grocery store owners in New York voluntarily shut down as an expression of disapproval for the current executive order that targets seven countries (including Yemen) with Muslim majority populations. The message being sent? Americans with ties to these countries are an essential part of America.
“This shutdown of grocery stores and bodegas will be a public show of the vital role these grocers and their families play in New York’s economic and social fabric and, during this period, grocery store owners will spend time with their families and loved ones to support each other; many of these families have been directly affected by the Ban,” reads a statement for the event.
These sorts of mass actions tend to get noticed. New York City has already seen a concentrated JFK-specific taxi driver strike days ago and scored points (alongside Lyft) over Uber online as a result. Brooklyn Borough Hall will serve as the site of a rally that evening with prayers and stories of how the immigration ban directly impacts people in the community.
“A lot of these stores have been in the neighborhood for twenty or thirty years,” co-organizer Widad Hassan told Buzzfeed. “And lot of people have been asking us, ‘Wouldn’t this hurt them because they’ll be losing money?’ The business owners have said the important thing is the statement being made. Many have been emotionally devastated. They can’t focus on work because they’re separated from their family members.”
The planned Yemeni Business Shutdown signals the continued pushback on Trump’s policies. Considering the dismissive attitude his camp has had with demonstrators, it’s likely more protests will be the order of the day.