A small group of immigrants gathered in Thomas Paine Plaza in front of the “Government of the People” statue on Thursday afternoon, clutching American flags. They would normally have been at work.
Like these workers, many others decided to stay home Thursday as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, a nationwide strike by immigrant workers and their families aimed at highlighting their contributions on daily life in the U.S.
At least two dozen restaurants across Philadelphia shuttered in solidarity with the movement Thursday.
Others opened with limited menus, promising to support workers and pay wages of those who participated in the protest. They also said they would donate a portion of proceeds to immigrant advocacy organizations.
Tria and Tria Taproom opened, but only served wine, cheese and beer, because they cannot open their kitchens without their entire staff.
“We chose to open today to raise money in support of all of our staff members. We will donate $1 from every wine, cheese and beer that we sell today to the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship,” the restaurant said in a statement.
Similar closures and protests took place in New York City, Washington D.C, Boston and other cities across the country.
The strike is a response to anti-immigration policies and proposals by President Donald Trump’s administration, including the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico and the travel ban on non-resident citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
“Without us and without our contribution, this country is paralyzed,” flyers being circulated in advance of the protest said.