The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

More Than A Thousand Protesters Are Marching In 'A Day Without Immigrants'

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 16, 2017 7:43PM

More than a thousand people gathered on Thursday morning to take part in Chicago's 'A Day Without Immigrants' protest, one of numerous happening throughout the country. The protesters came together to demonstrate the cultural and economic contributions of immigrants to the country while also voicing opposition against President Donald Trump's self-described crackdown on undocumented immigrants and recent arrests conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Today many people did not show up to work. They aren’t buying anything, they’re not consuming anything,” said Jorge Mújica of Arise Chicago. “We all are immigrants. We are part of this society, this country, this economy. This is our economy, our society, and this is our country too. The United States has a problem - it needs international workers, but doesn’t allow them to come here legally. We have a visa problem. We are not the problem, the problem is the US isn’t giving us the papers they want us to have.”

Demonstrators began to converge at Union Park at around 11 a.m. and began marching around noon. In addition, businesses around Chicago have closed in solidarity with the protesters, some of whom walked off their jobs around the city to demonstrate the importance of immigrant labor to the local and national economy.

Protesters at the Day Without An Immigrant event. Photo via Tyler LaRiviere/Chicagoist

The protesters were joined by local politicians, including Cook County comissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia and Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) as they marched downtown and chanted as motorists passing by honked in approval. Many different community and labor groups joined the march as well in solidarity with demonstrators, pointing towards the intersectionality of immigrant rights, workers rights, and civil liberties.

Aiesha Meadows McLaurin, a fast food worker at Burger King, was one of the many workers affiliated with the Fight for 15 movement that joined the demonstration. Low wage workers and labor organizations scored a huge victory this week when Carl’s Jr CEO Andy Puzder withdrew as nominee for the position of Secretary of Labor. “This is a powerful victory, one of the first major defeat in the resistance movement against the Trump administration,” said McLaurin.

“This is not a new fight,” Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression told the crowd. “I’m 74 years old and I’ve got one message for Donald Trump. We fought your dad, we fought your granddad, and we’re going to fight you...He’s trying to turn our government into a billionaire government of robber barons. That’s why he has no respect for working people - he’s been exploiting working people all his life.”

Additional reporting by Aaron Cynic