Strikes imagine a ‘Day Without’ immigrants, women


Photo credit: Eloise Rollins-Fife

Protesters at January's Los Angeles Women's March hold their signs high in Downtown Los Angeles. The organizers behind the Women's March on Washington have planned an upcoming strike/boycott, A Day Without A Woman, which will join February's A Day Without Immigrants in encouraging strikers to reject the current political climate.

In his 2010 song, Kanye West posed the question: “Who Will Survive in America?” No one, without immigrants and women, answered the organizers of two major strikes occurring in February and March.

The Day Without Immigrants boycott and strike took place around the country on Feb. 17 as a response to President Donald Trump’s (stalled) travel ban imposed on citizens of several majority Muslim nations, as well as his plan to ‘build a wall’ strengthening the U.S.—Mexico border.

According to NPR, as part of the strike, “Thousands of immigrants are skipping work; not shopping; not eating at restaurants, buying gas or sending their children to school.”

In Los Angeles, this had the potential to take a real toll. According to a report from the University of Southern California, immigrants make up 35 percent of the LA County population.

41 percent of this group is of Mexican origin, while immigration from El Salvador, the Philippines, Guatemala and Korea is also on the rise. USC estimates that 79 percent of immigrants in Los Angeles are a part of the labor force, while 91 percent are classified as “employed.”

The strike presented a struggle for many, who felt compelled to participate but could not afford to lose the paycheck. Following the strike, approximately 100 workers nationwide were fired for their involvement, reports The Atlantic.

However, there was some significant participation from businesses, employees and patrons alike: dozens of restaurants across LA closed their doors or offered ‘alternative programming’ in support, and within the Los Angeles Unified School District, 3,000 students more than usual were absent.

Taking a similar approach to a different issue is the upcoming Day Without A Woman strike set for March 8, International Women’s Day. The protest comes from the minds behind the Women’s March On Washington, whose hugely successful January event spawned sister marches across all seven continents.

The organization’s official page reads, “Women and our allies will act together creatively to withdraw from the corporations that harm us and find ways to support the businesses, organizations and communities that sustain us.”

“As we prepare for A Day Without A Woman, we ask: Do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities? Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression? Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children?”

At this time, no statement has been made as to whether participants are called upon to skip school or work for the event.

“I think [Day Without A Woman] is a really interesting idea,” said History Department Chair Lucy Pinkwater. “I was really moved by the Day Without Immigrants strike. I think that both movements are lacking a good PR campaign, so I wonder what the true impact is. We talked about it in [the gender studies class] a little bit, but I still am not hearing a lot about it and I don’t know if the Archer community has really heard a lot about it.”

Pinkwater continued, “I think if collectively, we agreed that this was something we could to together, or something that we could come to school, even, and promote together, that could be a really powerful message. Especially when so many women’s rights issues are the forefront on the line right now with this current administration.”