When my phone rang on Wednesday night, I checked Caller ID to see if I should avoid the call as per my routine. I was curious as to why my school was calling, but let it go to voice mail anyway. The district was informing everyone that due to the day of protest, taxi would not be operating in town and to adjust travel plans accordingly. I was quite confused by this bit of news, so I checked Facebook.
I soon found out about how Thursday would be a day to protest the treatment of immigrants in this country. All businesses in Perth Amboy would be shut down as a sign to the president of just how needed immigrants are in this country. While I admire the intent behind what was being "organized", I couldn't throw my support behind it.
For one, the organizers were actively encouraging people to: a) skip school and b) keep their kids home from school. This interruption of education (especially in a group that is behind as it is) serves no real purpose. Participants were not marching, holding rallies, or in any other way actively protesting. Over half of my students were out today, only to sleep in and watch television according to the students who did show up.
It's also very dangerous to only use the term "immigrant" to define participants in the protest. By doing so, organizers are not recognizing the difference between immigrants who are here legally, and those who are here illegally. That leads some people (my easily-excitable students included) to think that America is against immigration. Whatever your thoughts on the president may be, I have always understood him to want to go after the "bad guys."
The other issue is that it was for one day. No lasting message can be sent when the powers-that-be know you intend to return to work tomorrow. An indefinite strike would send more of a message. Unfortunately, most participants in Amboy can't afford to miss more than a day's pay. My students also seemed to think that shutting down Amboy's taxi service was going to send a message to Trump. I somehow think he was unaffected. In fact, I think no one in the establishment was affected. Only students who rely on taxis to get to school.
So I'll return to work tomorrow to hear how kids took the day off and spent it doing nothing. I can only imagine the outrage when I let them know that the day may not count since over half the students were absent.