Immigrants' strike closes some Omaha businesses

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 07:12:12-05

On Thursday night, the "A Day Without Immigrants" strike was winding down.

Small business owners in south Omaha and in many other parts of the country - wanted to show how important immigrants are to the American way of life and the economy.

We were there for most of the day and although south 24th street was still pretty busy, many of the businesses were closed to send a message - immigrants are part of the U.S.

Some people going to eat or do business along the heart of south Omaha got a small taste of what a community without immigrants would be like.

As part of a silent protest, a day without immigrants, many businesses closed their doors and stayed home from school.

"I came to my aunt's restaurant and with my family, we got the flag, we went out and bought posters and we started putting sayings on the posters and now we're out here chanting that, Latinos matter in this community,” said Kimberly Arevalo, Omaha South student. 

But not all immigrant businesses participated. like Neli Hernandez, who runs a zumba class with her family.

We thought about it, we were like, should we close that day?” She said.

“But then a lot of our girls started asking us, are you guys going to close? And we're like, we don't know yet. And they were like, well we're not going to work, we're not going to send out kids to school, so you guys should open so we can go."

Hernandez says that even though some businesses remained opened, the silent protest got the message across: that Latinos do contribute. 

"it's the start for something," she said.

"Maybe it won't change everything after today but maybe it's the start of something big."

KMTV checked with ops who says there was a significant dip in the number of students who attended school on Thursday.

Now they did have a half day due to parent teacher conferences but i spoke to a teacher at the school who says it was a very small turnout Thursday.