With less than a day’s notice, 30 people gathered at the historic Mariachi Plaza, Feb. 16, rallying in support of the undocumented on “A Day Without Immigrants.”
Chanting, “What do we want? Legalization! When do we want it? Now!” and “Aquí estamos y no, nos vamos! Y sí nos echan, no regresamos!” the crowd got support from people driving or walking by.
Businesses closed all over LA, including popular Alley stores, main restaurants along First Street in Boyle Heights, and parents missed work, students skipped school – all to demonstrate that the U.S. looks very different when immigrants remove themselves from society.
Juan Castillo-Alvarado, who is a gay man and activist with Latinx Equality Alliance – Alianza Latina por la Igualdad, says, “I'm here as a Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrant myself. Transphobia and homophobia sentiments are running rampant now, and the LGBTQ community is fighting back. We all need to be there for each other!”
Different organizations participated, like Centro CSO, Latinx Equality Alliance, Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Students from Hollenbeck Middle School, and even some folks driving as far as La Puente to join the Boyle Heights rally.
Closing the rally was longtime Chicano revolutionary and immigrant rights fighter Carlos Montes who said, “This day without immigrants is just the start of a campaign of resistance to the Trump attacks and a build up to May Day protests. Today we felt and saw the force of the undocumented. Fighting against deportations, a new Mexico wall, bracero programs, militarization, and no ICE raids – we will always be here for our immigrant families.”