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Was the “Day Without Immigrants” Protest Worth It?

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Stephanie Ibrahim

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Immigrants, a word that has been frequently used since the election. There have been protests about the wall President Trump is planning to build and the Immigration Ban. But, a new form of protest began on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, which was called “A Day Without Immigrants.” This form of boycott or protest was a way to show how important immigrants are to our country. They protested for immigrant rights and appreciation. These protests mainly occurred throughout Washington D.C.and usually did more harm than good.

Of all the states that had similar protests, Washington D.C. was where the majority of the restaurants closed. According to the Washington Post, “A handful of day-care centers and D.C. charter schools, including Next Step and Latin American Montessori Bilingual, closed for the day.” Closing schools and restaurants will help prove a point, but it will also hurt the business and schools. Closing schools mean that the students will have to rush in order to keep pace with other schools and end the school year later than planned. Their education is important and some students may not believe in the protest, but rather use it as an excuse to get out of school; students may miss important lessons and fall behind in school.

Posters and flyers spread throughout social media telling people how to participate in “A Day Without Immigrants.” The poster has six rules on what not to do during the day: “Don’t go to work, Don’t open up your business, Don’t buy anything in a store or online, Don’t eat at a restaurant, Don’t go to class, and Don’t let your kids go to class” (https://twitter.com/oxminaox/status/832002551142756354). I understand all of these, but there are positive and negative effects to each one. For example, students not going to school will miss important lessons and may fall behind, which will cause stress and problems for the student. Not going to work may cause you to lose your job and closing your business will only hurt the owner and the employees. Is this one-day protest really worth losing your job or falling behind in school?

Before the “Day Without Immigrants,” HMSA called the homes of all the students informing them of the day and advising the parents to still allow the students to go to school. Education is important and missing a day in HMSA can cause a lot of stress and worry, because of the lessons you would miss in class. There were some students that did not attend school for this event, but it was not a big impact that affected the school drastically. There are other alternatives to closing business, not going to work, and not going to school, that are safer because everyone should protest without risking their jobs. Alternatives could be protesting after school (with adult supervision for safety) or work, or doing something similar to “The Day Of Silence” in which you do not talk for the entire day to spread awareness of marginalized groups.

“A Day Without Immigrants” allowed me to see how everyone has a role that keeps America standing and functioning. When asked about how she felt about the “Day Without Immigrants”, Linda R. passionately stated, “’A Day Without Immigrants’ showed us how much they truly impact and are part of our country; they are active citizens just like everybody else. Some places nearby were empty due to the immigrants not attending work and/or school. I have respect for all who participated and gave a voice to those who couldn’t take part.” It took only a day to realize how much immigrants impact our lives even though we may not have seen it before. Now people will see each other in a different light, respect, and be more thankful towards immigrants. Protests should be safer and they should not be detrimental to people’s jobs or education.

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Was the “Day Without Immigrants” Protest Worth It?