East Boston Protesters Unfurl Pro-Immigrant Banner
Shouting chants of “This country was built by us! This country depends on us!”, demonstrators unfurled a huge banner at the Sumner Tunnel and on the streets of East Boston Thursday, hoping to raise awareness for the role immigrants play in their community.
The protest comes the day after President Donald Trump worked to meet a key campaign promise by signing executive orders to set in motion a crackdown on undocumented migrants. Trump’s orders include beginning work on completing a $20 billion border wall with Mexico, and a threat that so-called “sanctuary cities” —locales that have decided it’s not in their interest to help immigration authorities round up and deport their residents—could lose federal funding if they don’t comply with his immigration agenda. City leaders, among them Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, have vowed to resist.
The banner that caught the attention of commuters and social media observers alike this morning includes the Spanish phrase “Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes,” which in English means “A Day Without Immigrants.” It’s a rallying cry for a group called the Cosecha Movement, which describes itself on its website as “a nonviolent movement working to win permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented people in this country.”
On Facebook, Thursday’s demonstrators describe themselves as hailing from East Boston, a neighborhood that has been home to waves of immigrants throughout Boston’s history, most recently from South America. They are also planning something called “A Week Without Immigrants,” they say.
The protest moved from the bridge over the Sumner Tunnel to Maverick Square and along Eastie sidewalks.
— Natasha Verma (@NVermaNBCBoston) January 26, 2017
— Capturegirl (@jenyp) January 26, 2017
— elly kalfus (@ekalify) December 3, 2016
— Scott Tetreault (@BostonNewsMan) January 26, 2017
Their strategy appears to be to remind people that immigrants, regardless of their legal status, contribute to the economy. At a “Salsa Shutdown” organized by the same group in December, demonstrators danced inside stores at Downtown Crossing.
— luke (@ldaluke) December 3, 2016
Their point? They collectively provide a lot of services, and spend a lot of money here, so imagine if all of a sudden they didn’t.
More from their website:
So it is time to ask – what would a day without immigrants really look like? What would a week without restaurant workers feel like? This country would have to choose between continuing to exploit workers and separate families, or finally coming to terms with our racist history and giving us the protection, the dignity, and the respect we demand.