BEECHVIEW (KDKA) – Amidst snow flurries they walked bundled up Broadway Avenue in Beechview chanting: “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here.”
On Thursday, the “Day Without Immigrants” protests were held across the country and Pittsburgh’s proud heritage of an immigrant foundation was on display. They came to raise their voices against policies from the Trump Administration that they feel threaten their livelihoods, and lives here in Pittsburgh.
“Donald Trump specifically said Mexicans. I am from a Mexican origin and he personally attacked me. So I have to express my voice that if I feel attacked I will stand up,” Eric Martinez said.
The common theme: life under a threat of deportation is unacceptable.
Sister Janice Vandernik runs Casa San Jose which works to improve the lives of immigrants in Pittsburgh.
“We’re all trying to draw attention to the fact that these are good working people among us. They are being terrorized. We need to find another way to deal with the issue of immigration, other than terrorizing good families,” she said.
The day was about more than marches and speeches. It was a day immigrants chose to withhold their economic benefits they provide the city. Immigrant-run restaurants, and groceries were closed, including Edgar’s Best Tacos on Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
Bill Generette was surprised to find the door locked when he arrived for lunch.
“I’m sad I can’t get my tacos but the fact they are closed and the fact that they are showing how important immigrants are to the economy is a great thing,” he said.
Edgar’s is next to the Savoy where Gary White said he supports his neighbors and understands the importance of immigrants to Pittsburgh.
“Phenomenal they are the backbone of a lot of communities that really go under the radar.”
So they marched to put faces to the issue and raise their voices as they walked: “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all.”