February 3, 2017
By Joe Maniscalco
Brooklyn, NY - Yemeni-American bodega owners throughout the city kicked off a one-day strike in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall Thursday evening in response to the Trump administration’s continued travel ban on several Muslim countries.
Numerous elected officials including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Civil Service & Labor Committee Chair I. Daneek Miller and Borough President Eric Adams joined hundreds of Muslim-Americans at the Remsen Street plaza to denouce the executive order that has split apart American families and shut the door on war-torn refugees.
“I have a message for Donald Trump, and that message is that you as president have an obligation to support the Constitution of the United States,” Stringer said from the Borough Hall steps. “You have an obligation to support all of our people. You cannot, and you will not, attempt to divide this country and separate ourselves, because we are one city and we are one America.”
New York City's top fiscal watchdog further warned Trump that, “When you disregard the Constitution — it’s time to get impeached.”
The executive order issued last week banning travel from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya immediatley sparked large protests at several major American airports in defiance of the action, as well as a stay from a Federal Court judge.
“Today we are gathered because we are Americans,” James told the crowd. “And today we have come together to support your boycott becaue we want this county to know that this is a country built by immigrants. Togehter we are strong, and will let this administration know that they cannot build walls.”
One Muslim-American activist with deep roots in New York City, including relatives in the NYPD who fought in the Iraq war, talked about an uncle stranded in Jordan even though he has reportedly been cleared and approved for resettlement in Michigan.
“My uncle called me [and said] this is not the America that you always told me about,” the activist said. “He just couldn’t beleive what was happening. This is what the ban does.”
Many in the crowd followed up the traditional call to Muslim prayer by waving the stars & stripes and chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”
“Thank you all for what you do for this city and this country,” Speaker Mark-Viverito said. “We are all one. We are all united and we will push back against these executive orders.”
Trump’s executive order specifically cites the mostly 19 Saudi highjackers who crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as well as a field in Pennsylvania during the September 11, 2001 terroist atacks, and says it is intended to prevent other terrorists from entering the country.
Saudi Arabia, however, is not one of the Muslim nations affected by the 90-day travel ban.
“We, too, are Americans, and we demand to be treated well,” Adams said. “Your display today of closing your businesses, you are sending a clear, loud message to America that you have the right and your families have the right to the reward of the American dream.”
Today’s bodega strike invovles roughly 1,000 small businesses across the five boroughs.