By: Katherine Massopust
PERTH AMBOY – On 2/16/17 in front of Quisqueya Meat Market & Grocery, 249 Madison Ave., Perth Amboy, Mayor Wilda Diaz held a press conference. Diaz stated, “I want to send a message that executive orders have consequences. We stand by many families that live in fear. We respect them. It’s not about undocumented – it’s about all immigrants. That’s why we are shutting (businesses run by immigrants) down today. When you walk around you can see what can potentially happen. A day without our immigrants – we are here to help.”
Quisqueya Meat Market & Grocery Antonio Abreu stated, “It’s amazing what we can do on a short notice. We communicated to all small businesses we shut down in the City. 80% of the City are immigrants. That’s a huge number.”
Emanuel from United Taxi stated, “This is the initial phase of a larger movement. This shutdown shows a ghost of a town.”
Business owner Abe stated, “Some older people telling younger people to protest. I can’t’ see people going away. These are amazing people. We can’t let them go. I’m a child of an immigrant. I can’t let that go.”
Mayor Diaz then stated, “We wanted to show our residents we hold in solidarity. It’s very telling how many businesses are shut down.”
When asked how many businesses in Perth Amboy shut down, Diaz didn’t know the exact number.
Many Immigrants chose not to go to work on 2/16/17.
Quisqueya Market Owner Tony Abreu said, “A Business Owner in New Brunswick asked me if I was going to close. Also, Wendy DeJesus, owner of Daisy’s Super Market on Amboy Avenue, Perth Amboy said if I would close, then she would close. She started to make phone calls. I called a lot of businesses and went to over a hundred businesses personally.”
When asked what the message was to the United States, Abreu answered, “To be united against human suffering – when the town is suffering, when the town is separated, that’s suffering right there.”
When asked if he believed the “Day Without Immigrants” made a difference, Abreu answered, “Yes, Just look around.”