New York City

NYC’s Yemeni bodegas go on strike today to protest Trump’s travel ban

Rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall this evening

February 2, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A thousand Yemeni-owned bodegas will close at noon today in response to the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting Muslims. This sign will be hanging on their front doors. Courtesy of #MyYemeniNeighbor
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Better get your sandwich and coffee early today.

At noon, Yemeni business owners across all five New York City boroughs will close their roughly 1,000 neighborhood grocery stores and bodegas in response to the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting Muslims. The stores won’t reopen until 8 p.m., following a mass rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Yemen is one of the seven countries named in Trump’s executive order, which bars Syrian refugees from entry indefinitely, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocks citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days — even those with valid visas from the U.S. government.

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UPDATE: Huge crowd gathers early on steps of Borough Hall as rally begins

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The shutdown represents “a public show of the vital role these grocers and their families play in New York’s economic and social fabric,” organizers said on their Facebook page.

Shops that are closed will have a red, white and blue sign hanging on their front doors explaining the circumstances.

The bodega owners say that many of their families have been directly affected by the travel ban. While their shops are closed, they say, they will spend extra time with their families and loved ones.

Rally participants will begin gathering at 4:30 p.m. in Borough Hall plaza, at 209 Joralemon St. in Downtown Brooklyn. The program will begin with the Muslim call for prayer and a public sundown prayer for followers of the Muslim faith.

Following the prayer, several Yemeni merchants and their families will share personal stories of how their lives and families have been impacted by the ban, as well as stories read on behalf of families who are afraid to come forward.

Widad Hassan, one of the organizers, told BuzzFeed News the community began planning the action several days ago, when a couple of business owners were discussing the executive order.


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