Daily Engagement: New Yorkers, Support the Current Bodega Strike


Daily Engagement is a new, brief, daily feature on Flavorwire. It’s aimed at helping people feel somewhat less helpless and hopeless (or at least in control of their helplessness and hopelessness) in the midst of a political news cycle that’s been doling out daily affronts to human decency.

Every day, we’ll post one easy thing that people can do to continue to resist the current state of politics under the Trump administration, focusing on the creative ways (we are a culture website after all) that citizens are finding to resist.

Over 1,000 Yemeni-American NYC bodega owners are striking today through 8 p.m. to oppose Trump’s immigration executive order — which named Yemen (along with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia) on its list of Muslim-majority countries from which immigrants and refugees would not be granted access into the United States.

There are a few ways to support strikers. A few of the organizers also appear as contacts for a GoFundMe campaign started on the fly to benefit strikers (the fundraiser itself wasn’t organized by the same people as the strike, but for purposes of legitimacy they’re listed as contacts for the fund), with a goal of raising at least $10,000 to “donate what we would otherwise spend at our local bodega on a regular Thursday to give back to this community.” So, in lieu of whatever random thing you’d be getting at the bodega right about now, you can instead donate to help ensure that this strike itself is less of a financial sacrifice for the owners of these shops — which are typically always open during these hours (as many are 24-hour businesses), most every day of the year. Another way to do so is to just compensate this evening after the strikes, and hit up any business you know was closed during. And, if you have time, another immediate/physical way to show support is to attend the rally that’s happening simultaneously, and amplify its reach and message via social media.

The rally officially starts at 5:15 at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, and will provide local Yemeni grocers with a platform to describe how the ban has impacted them and their families. One of the organizers, Zaid Nagi, told NYMag‘s Grub Street:

After the devastating executive order came in, we were shocked for a couple days. Then when we saw the whole nation erupt in defense of us, we felt safe to come out and that we have a story, a message, and our voice must be heard.

Another organizer, Debbie Almontaser, spoke of the remarkable speed with which the community has come together for the strike. She told Vocativ:

[Someone] said that we have to do something to represent and show the vital role we play in the American economy and how we are good citizens that serve our communities. I think it’s pretty incredible we’ve been able to do this in four days.

Through the revolting nature of what the Intercept referred to as the “if we bombed you, we ban you” approach of the Trump administration, not only are Yemenis now being shut out of America — Yemeni civilians are also still being killed in American raids (this is of course carried over from the Obama era — but now there’s the simultaneous ban). This was seen in this weekend’s Navy’s SEAL Team 6 raid to get intel into Al Qaeda, which reportedly led to the deaths not just of militants — but also of civilian women and children.