Meow he’s gone and done it. Photos by Tim Donnelly/Brokelyn.

We’re just 14 days into the Donald Trump presidency and we’ve reached the point that bodega owners — and, presumably, their cats — have risen up in open revolt. Thousands of Yemeni bodega owners and supporters rallied in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall last night in protest of Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, capping off an unprecedented eight-hour citywide bodega strike. The strike shuttered an estimated 1,000 Yemeni-owned bodegas, groceries and others stores across the five boroughs and drove home the point that Trump’s Muslim travel ban wasn’t just reverberating in far-off lands; it affected the family and friends of the people you get your coffee, Modelo and Hi-Chews from every day. And we already know what happened when someone tried to come for the bodega cats.

This above was our favorite sign from the rally, so let’s take a moment to digest what it means: The words of a man who bragged about sexual assault on tape but still became president are being used against him by New York City bodega owners in protest of his racist and knee-jerk outrage at Muslim countries around the world. Good luck with this stuff, writers of future history textbooks. 

_________

IMG_4918
She made the sign herself, representing a mix of several NYC bodegas.

The #bodegastrike lasted from noon to 8pm; supporters put sticky notes and messages of solidarity all over closed gates and locked doors across the five boroughs. At the rally, protesters packed the stairs of Borough Hall and the surrounding plaza, waving Yemeni and American flags and joining for a group call to prayer at sunset. Elected officials including Borough President Eric Adams, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Comptroller Scott Stringer gave their messages of solidarity with the protestors.

_________

At least we still have our sense of humor.
At least we still have our sense of humor.

“You have an obligation to support all of our people,” Stringer said to the crowd, addressing Trump. “When you disregard the Constitution, it’s time to get impeached.”

_________

A sign riffing on the famous Anthora cup, which was designed by immigrant and Holocaust survivor Leslie Buck.
A sign riffing on the famous Anthora cup, which was designed by Holocaust survivor Leslie Buck.

We’ve all been pretty bitterly hardened by the constant onslaught of depression and hypocrisy coming out of Washington these past two weeks (and yeah, it’s only been two weeks). But poking air holes through that suffocating container of current affairs have been the constant stream of reminders that the resistance is alive, and that we live in the big beautiful mess of New York City for a reason.

Many messages at the rally and on social media last night showed that people were particularly moved by the bodega strike’s show of force: 1,000 shop owners across the five boroughs, voluntarily sacrificing a day’s worth of business to put a punctuation mark on how terrible things are. It reminds you how much harder immigrants have to work at being American than the rest of us. Our friend Dan Keegan put it perfectly on Twitter:

Here are some more scenes from the #bodegastrike protest at Borough Hall last night:

_________

Tiny protesters. Photo by Hannah Frishberg/Brokelyn.
Tiny protesters. Photo by Hannah Frishberg/Brokelyn.

_________

IMG_4899
Brooklyn is Real America.

_________

IMG_4905
Hundreds of Yemeni workers pray at sunset in front of Borough Hall.

_________

IMG_4896
Muslim and proud AF.

_________

No sandwiches today my friend.
No sandwiches today my friend.

_________

IMG_4953
[solidarity fist emoji]

_________

Thousands rallied as elected officials addressed the crowd.
Thousands rallied as elected officials addressed the crowd.

New Yorkers hate being inconvenienced, but compared to, say, the inconvenience of having one of your family members unable to flee a war-torn country and join you in New York City, no one seemed to mind too much:

Among the supportive chatter yesterday, I heard one contrarian point keep coming up, and not just from right-wing trolls, so let’s get ahead of it here. Yes, some bodega owners are shitty people. A lot of them are hard-working immigrants who are the Platonic ideal of the American dream, people who fled their countries with nothing and started a business in America, successfully fusing themselves into the backbone New York City uses to get up every day. But some, as detractors have pointed out, overcharge for bottled water and sell goods that are clearly (I mean, it’s on the label) stolen from Duane Reade, or just repackage goods illegally. They smoke in the stores and sell untaxed cigarettes and maybe other illegal stuff.

So owning a bodega, or any business, is not in itself a virtuous act. But that’s the point: In America, you have a right to be a shitty person. We elected one president, he’s filling his cabinet with people who trafficked in way more fraud than untaxed loosies. America has thrived for generations by elevating its shitty people, and it’s every New Yorker’s right to to try rip you off in some way. That’s the true equality everyone is fighting for.

Follow Tim: @timdonnelly

Never miss bodega revolution news again: Subscribe to Brokelyn today!

Related Articles

0

The talented @damien__mitchell unmasked another beautiful mural at The Levee today: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. A post shared by The Levee (@theleveebk) on...

0

Let's check in on the latest tally of groups that have struck out against Donald Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-sanity attempts to solve problems that don't...

2

It's been three months since the election and we'll still probably never get used to seeing the occasional Make America Great Again hat on...

4

Stock up on BECs, toilet paper and Goya products while you can because Yemeni bodega workers across the city are going on strike tomorrow to...

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply