Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

#DayWithoutImmigrants Shuts Down a Michigan School District

The Grand Rapids School district is likely to call a snow day on Thursday because so many students participated in the #DayWithoutImmigrants protests.

Left Voice

February 16, 2017
Facebook Twitter Share

Grand Rapids, Michigan is not known as a bustling metropolis of leftists. It is not particularly well known for its activism and it did not appear on the news as having the largest mobilizations after Trump’s victory.

However, even in these less well known cities, #ADayWithoutImmigrants is having a huge effect. In fact, it is having such an effect that the public school district will likely be forced to declare a snow day.. without snow. This was an effect of the nationwide movement against Trump which rejects Trump’s plans for a Muslim ban, his plans for a border wall, and the ICE raids against undocumented people in cities across the US. These raids are not new; the Obama administration deported more undocumented immigrants than any other president in the history of the United States.

#DayWithoutImmigrants encouraged foreign-born workers to stay home from work, students to stay home from school, and members of both groups to refuse to purchase items in order to demonstrate the weight of immigrants in the US.

In order to count as a school day in Grand Rapids, 75% of students must be in school. Because of the mass absenteeism on Thursday — a day without immigrants — the district will likely be forced to declare it a snow day. Some schools had a rate of up to 50% absenteeism. 4,200 students did not go to school.

This occurred in spite of a letter sent to parents by the district which can be read in its entirely here. The district says, “We are aware of a planned immigration protest for this Thursday that includes keeping students out of school. We believe that all people have the right to voice their opinion and make a stand for their beliefs. However, we also believe that it is important that children are in school, on time, every day, ready to learn. When a child misses school, for any reason, they miss a chance to learn and grow. We hope that we can count on you to send your child to school each and every day, including Thursday.”

Notably absent is the voice of the teachers union which could serve as important support for the #DayWithoutAnImmigrant, clearly standing against Trump’s policies which hurt immigrants and, as the confirmation of Betsy DeVos demonstrates, teachers as well. In fact, Mother Jones reports that “Betsy DeVos once served on the board of this Grand Rapids-based think tank, which endorses a blend of religious conservatism and unrestrained capitalism,” and her family gave 2.39 million to the Grand Rapids Christian High School Association. Grand Rapids public schools are first on Betsy De Vos and her husband’s personal privatization chopping block, and while the President of the Grand Rapids Education Association did issue a tepid statement condemning the DeVos appointment, they did not mobilize in force to protest.

The teachers union should not only issue a statement in support of the #ADayWithoutImmigrants action but should also engage in the work stoppage, demonstrating that teachers are on the side of our students and on the side of the oppressed against Trump and his policies, all of which hurt both teachers and students.

Facebook Twitter Share

Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.

United States

The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024
A NYPD officer arrests a masked pro-Palestine protestors wearing a kaffiyeh while other cops and masked protesters look on.

Attacks on the Pro-Palestine Movement Are Attacks on the Right to Protest

As the movement for Palestine against Israel’s brutal military invasion of Gaza and attacks on the West Bank continues at a lower intensity than last fall, the State is cracking down on the leaderships of the movement and rolling back gains made by the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2020. The movement must grow in order to fight back against repression and protect our democratic right to protest.

Carmin Maffea

February 10, 2024

When Columbia Students Are Under Attack, We Must Stand Up, Fight Back!

On January 19, two Columbia University students who are former Israeli Defense Forces soldiers attacked students with a chemical-based weapon called “skunk,” at a campus protest against the genocide of Palestinians. Students must unite with workers to defend our movement; from Palestine to Low, the attacks have got to go!

K.S. Mehta

February 2, 2024

Six Ideas to Advance the Movement for Palestine

Nearly four months into Israel’s genocide in Gaza, what will it take for the movement to continue forward and impose its demands?

Luigi Morris

January 28, 2024

MOST RECENT

All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Two Years of War in Ukraine

On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the war in Ukraine after two years, and the continued need for an independent, working-class solution.

Left Voice

February 24, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

Zionists have long wielded their influence and power in New York City, but the anti-zionist movement is finally taking an unapologetic stand against them.

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024

With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024