Some D.C. Schools Close their Doors for ‘A Day Without Immigrants’


According to WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle and Mikaela Lefrak, bars and restaurants were not the only places that shut their doors on Thursday Bars and restaurants aren’t the only places that will close their doors on Thursday. At least two charter schools including Mundo Verde in Truxton Circle and Latin American Bilingual Montessori, or LAMB, which has campuses in Brookland and Brightwood also closed in recognition of ‘A Day Without Immigrants.’ The protest took place around the country as immigrants and their families closed businesses, did not report to work and removed their children from school. 

“I feel strong that my school, my work support me. I feel like we are a family,” said Mauricio Bautista, a handyman at the Brightwood campus who is originally from El Salvador and is now a legal permanent resident of the United States.

He says the school, which offers bilingual instruction, has staff and parents from all over the world: “People from Chile, Central America, Argentina, Africa, Ethiopians.” He revealed to WAMU that he had planned to spend the day at home with his two sons, talking about immigrant experience and politics.

“I want to support the peoples maybe they don’t have a voice. You know, we feel like they hunting us. Like it’s hunting season,” Bautista said.

According to WAMU, the charter school’s administration’s decision to close was practical — not political. Ernest Yombo, the school’s assistant principal, said so many staff members wanted to participate in the protests that they wouldn’t have enough teachers around to run the school.

“Seventy percent of our staff are immigrants or married to immigrants, and they want to participate in that as a school,” Yombo said.

Charter schools have the authority to make their own decisions about when to close, but D.C. Public Schools work a bit differently. Chief of Schools John Davis sent principals a note this week saying while the school system supports the right to protest, all students and staff are expected to be in school on Feb. 16.

For those immigrants and their allies that opt not to work, it’s not necessarily a day off. A march and rally is scheduled to start in Mt. Pleasant, one of the city’s historically Latino neighborhoods, at noon. Read more here.