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A Day Without Immigrants

America is the “land of the free, home of the brave,” though many citizens seem to have forgotten how this country has been shaped by centuries of immigrants. Lady Liberty has welcomed countless people with a new hope to build a better life, but this idea of welcoming immigrants and refugees from overseas has been increasingly rejected in recent months, culminating in the executive orders on immigration seen so far this year.

On February 16, a national boycott and strike movement titled “Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes,” or “A Day Without Immigrants,” made one of its first statements encouraging the closing of businesses for the day, or donating a portion of proceeds for the day to nonprofits that aid Latino communities. Some individuals chose not to work for the day. The purpose of the boycott was to illustrate the impact immigrants have on the American economy in response to President Trump’s recent immigration regulations. Participants wanted to show that immigrants are not here to steal, cheat the legal system, or take people’s jobs, but that they work as hard as anyone else and benefit our overall economy.

CNN reported a story about three kitchen workers who wanted to take part in the movement. Matt Carr, their employer and owner of a restaurant in Washington D.C., had no issues with letting the three cooks defend what they believe in.

The workers did not just complete their work the day before, but worked harder to make sure that everything for the day of the strike was done. Their actions reflected the amount of respect, drive, and work ethic that many working immigrants have.

The workers showed respect for their boss by not leaving other employees of the restaurant to pick up their slack for the next day. They left Carr a note indicating the work they completed, writing, “Dear Matt, kale salad is ready, fruit salad just needs blueberries and mint. Oranges are cut. Thank you, the ladies of the kitchen.”

Carr also mentioned to that he had to step up in his small business, washing plates and helping prepare the food to help fill the gap. He said that the business would fall apart without the workers who are from Venezuela and Guatemala.

Carr’s act of acceptance and understanding about the strike is a very refreshing outlook. Some people who participated were not as fortunate as the women in Carr’s restaurant. Some workers lost their jobs because of their choice to stand united with people they did not know by name, but shared the same heart-ache. It is unclear if there will be another such boycott, but it is clear that immigrants are not done fighting for what they believe in.

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