On Thursday, February 16th, 2017, restaurants stood in solidarity with their workers that have been loyal and reliable by striking on their behalf. Michelin star restaurants in cities like D.C. and Chicago were closed for the day to show America what the nation would look like without immigrants. Chef Rick Bayless in Chicago chose to close some of his restaurants for the day, while others remained open and workers were encouraged to take the day off if they too wished to protest the immigration ban and the Trump administration.
Some would say that the unplanned closes were inconvenient, as some patrons had reservations for weeks. The restaurants retaliate yes, that’s exactly the point. The restaurant industry relies heavily on immigrants who have proven themselves to be skilled in the kitchen, reliable among the long, late hours, and hard-working when it comes to the immense work-load of a kitchen.
On Twitter, the hashtags #daywithoutanimmigrant and #adaywithoutimmigrants were trending where users showcased ways to boycott, highlighted businesses in support of the strike, and even called out businesses that were not supportive of the protest. Some tweets showed that while employees were protesting by not coming to work, they were also making sure to get their work done ahead of time by prepping food the previous day.
Immigrants and those supportive of the protest are acting in other ways, besides not going to work on the 16th. To show solidarity, people were encouraged to not go out to eat at restaurants that day, not go shopping, and not get gas, to show how immigrants contribute to the economy as well.
In 2006, a national march occurred with the same name, where one million immigrants and their advocates protested. In over a decade later, restaurants want to show Americans that with executive orders like the Immigration Ban, the industry would be devastated.