On Thursday afternoon Yemeni-American business owners throughout the five New York boroughs will close up shop in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.
"This shutdown of grocery stores and bodegas will be a public show of the vital role these grocers and their families play in New York’s economic and social fabric and, during this period, grocery store owners will spend time with their families and loved ones to support each other; many of these families have been directly affected by the ban," the organizers said in a press release.
Yemen is one of the seven countries listed in Trump’s executive order which bans asylum seekers, permanent residents, visa holders, and visa applicants from coming to the U.S.
Since 2002, the U.S. has launched countless drone attacks in Yemen, and over the past 15 months has killed over 10,000 civilians in a relentless bombing campaign led by its proxy in the region, Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the Trump administration launched its first attack on the country, killing 8-year-old U.S. citizen Nawar al-Awlaki. The Obama administration had previously killed two other U.S. citizens in Yemen, Nawar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old brother and her father.
According to the U.N.’s World Food Program, the U.S. attacks have left over 14 million Yemenis "food insecure" and displaced another 2.8 million people.
Thursday’s action will culminate in a rally and public sundown prayer where participants will share personal stories of how they have been affected by the ban and read testimonies “on behalf of those who are afraid to come forward.”
"Originally, we considered starting the shutdown at 8 a.m., but the grocers made it clear they wouldn’t be willing to close if that meant their regulars wouldn’t get their morning coffee," said Debbie Almontaser, board member of the Muslim Community Network and one of the rally organizers.
"Even when their lives have been turned upside down, they refused to disrupt the lives of the very people they serve daily," she added.