Several West Hollywood restaurants today joined businesses across the United States in closing as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest against Donald Trump’s promises to deport undocumented people from this country.
Among those restaurants are Gracias Madre, known for its Mexican vegan cuisine, and WeHo Bistro, whose owner is French, along with Kitchen 24, which, as its name implies, is open 24 hours a day and attracts a large number of tourists and members of the West Hollywood gay community.
Day Without Immigrants is a grassroots campaign that led to carpenters, plumbers, cooks and other immigrant workers — whether documented or not — staying home from work to demonstrate the impact that deporting such people would have on the economy. As part of the protest many people refused to go shopping or attend school.
No national organization was involved in putting the demonstration together. The New York Times reports that it was an organic movement with word spread through social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
David Dickerson, owner of Kitchen 24 in West Hollywood and Hollywood, said his decision to close them today came from a request from his staff. (They will reopen at midnight).
“This was my guys coming to me with tears in their eyes saying we want to do this,” Dickerson said. “This isn’t me having this grand idea … When they approached me with their hearts in their hands I decided to do it.”
The closings were costly for the restaurant owners and other businesses. Dickerson noted that today was an unusually sunny one given the clouds and rain recently, and that sunny weather usually helps fill the restaurant’s outside seating area.