Hundreds march through downtown for 'Day without immigrants' protest
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Hundreds of thousands of people participated nationwide in one of the largest worker strikes in more than a decade.
The Memphis March for Immigrant Rights started at Clayborn Temple at 5:30 p.m. Monday, and ended at National Civil Rights Museum.
The march called for unity and support of all immigrants. Many marchers carried American flags with them, because they said they have the right to the American Dream.
Organizers asked people to skip work, shopping, and banking to show the power of immigrants' labor and purchasing power.
"And we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of all nationalities, of all faiths, in order to stand before you and say join us in this strike to say that a day without immigrants is really a day without America," activist Kalimah Rashada said.
They are also demanding an end to criminalization of black and brown communities, an end to raids and deportation, along with an end to worker exploitation.
"Borders are artificial," Antwan Estrada, who was born in Mexico, said. "It's a melting pot. We don't need to come together and straighten out, we need to just like come together and build."
"Look, Latino immigrants are a very important part of this community," Director of Latino Memphis Mauricio Calvo said. "We need to highlight that work."
The nationwide strike is expected to be the largest since Mega Marches in 2006.
"People ask for workers rights. We are asking for the right to work," Calvo said.
"It's OK to be yourself," Estrada said. "There is nothing wrong with being your culture. You shouldn't be afraid of what you are."
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