BODEGA STRIKE

New York’s corner-store owners united against Trump’s travel ban, in photos

Brooklyn, NY

Hundreds of New Yorkers rallied against US president Donald Trump’s immigration ban outside of Borough Hall in Brooklyn on Feb. 2. The rally capped a day of quiet protest, in which Yemeni-American bodega owners closed their shops across the city.

Bodegas are the traditional corner store in most New York City neighborhoods, and a large portion of are run by Yemeni immigrants. Yemen is one of the seven countries directly targeted by President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and refugees from traveling to the US. The other countries named in the ban are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya.

“This is not justice for us,” said Shaif Abushr, a Yemeni-American and owner of an electronics store. “We’re here to defend our family and other people.”

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
Protestors gathered outside of Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. (Julius Motal for Quartz)

Protesters chanted in English and Arabic as they waved American and Yemeni flags in equal measure. Many Yemeni-Americans have family back in Yemen, which is one of the reasons why the ban is so painful.

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
Muaad Alody, a Master’s student at City College of New York, whose mother is a green card holder. “It’s going to be a domino effect,” Alody said of the possibility that the ban could be expanded to include more countries. “Your country probably will be next.” (Julius Motal for Quartz)

Protestor Mohammed Aljahmi has been living in the US for six years, and has been waiting to reunite with his wife and child, who live in Yemen. Their travel visas to the US were nearly ready, but the travel ban has complicated matters. “There’s a war back in Yemen,” he says. “They’re not safe.

For many in the crowd, the future is uncertain.

“My grandmother has cancer,” said Fatima Mohammed, a high school student. “My greatest fear is that I won’t be able to visit her in the future.”

“We are not accepting this unconstitutional order,” said Muaad Alody, a Yemeni-American student at the City College of New York.

“We’re here to stand up for everyone.”

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
“We’re here to stand up for everyone,” said Nasrin Aljahmi, a student at New York City College of Technology. “I’m 100% sure they’re not Muslim,” she said of extremist groups. “What they’re doing is not Muslim.”

“I built these buildings.”

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
“There’s a war back in Yemen,” said Mohammed Aljahmi, whose wife and daughter are still in Yemen. “They’re not safe. We’re not going to stop. Aljahmi works in construction. “I built these buildings, and now they’re going to kick me out.” (Julius Motal for Quartz)

“We’re here to defend our family and other people.”

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
“Trump is the worst president so far,” said Shaif Abushr, a Yemeni-American and owner of an electronics store. “This is not justice for us. We’re here to defend our family and other people.” (Julius Motal for Quartz)

“Everyone comes from immigrant descent. That’s what we’re trying to show.”

Brooklyn Bodega Protest
“This protest is a step forward,” said Majed Alzokeri, an undergraduate student at the City College of New York. “Everyone comes from immigrant descent. That’s what we’re trying to show. We need to make sure other communities get involved.” (Julius Motal for Quartz)
Brooklyn Bodega Protest
Ahmed Sharhan, a Yemeni-American waves an America flag at a rally in Brooklyn against President Trump’s immigration ban. (Julius Motal for Quartz)
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