Sonoma County businesses join ‘Day Without Immigrants' protest to counter President Trump

More than a dozen businesses throughout Sonoma County plan to keep their doors closed Thursday to participate in a nationwide demonstration billed by organizers as a protest of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

From New York City to San Francisco, the national “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration is expected to draw thousands of striking workers, plus businesses that plan to shut down or make do without employees.

“I've chosen to close my businesses to support the cause,” said Teresita Fernandez, owner of La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma Valley and Novato. “I'm a product of immigrants, so it's dear and close to my heart.”

Other businesses that plan to remain closed for the day include Rancho Mendoza Super Mercado in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, Comacho Market in Santa Rosa and La Texanita in Sebastopol, said Marcos Suarez, business diversity program manager with the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

“The list keeps growing, it's like a chain reaction,” Suarez said. He noted that Exitos 98.7 FM will not have any programming Thursday as the radio station's deejays plan to participate in the strike.

“It really hurts small businesses not to open,” Suarez said. “They're willing to put their money where their mouth is - it's a sacrifice.”

Yet for Fernandez, shutting her businesses for a day is a meaningful act of protest against Trump, who has pledged to deport millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“It's a small price to pay,” Fernandez said. “The people who are facing deportation - who shouldn't be deported - are the ones who are suffering. Losing a day of income isn't going to change my world.”

Fernandez expected the protest to grow as news spread on social media and by word of mouth Wednesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nrahaim.