Standing in front of the courthouse with lit candles in hand, nearly 70 people shared music, poetry, prayers and silence for families separated at the border.

The group was part of the a worldwide candle light vigil event called Lights for Liberty aimed at protesting current conditions at migrant detention centers across the country.

Meeting at Sol House, 510 W. Superior St., and walking to the courthouse, the group shared a moment of silence in solidarity at 9 p.m.

The event was facilitated by Sol House, which held silent auctions for donations to nonprofit organizations Freedom for Immigrants and Together Rising. Sol House had a goal of $1,500, which was raised early in the evening around 7:45 p.m., Annie Lightsey, Sol House facilitator and artist in residence, said.

Bond for those being held at the border is set from $1,500 up to $80,000, she said. Those who bid in the silent auction were required to provide a screenshot proving their donation to either aforementioned organization, as an example that locals can help children being held in detention centers even from far away.

Supplies to make protest signs to hold and mylar to wear as a cuff around the wrist were made available. Mylar looks similar to aluminum foil, it's a silver polyester film used for many purposes, namely insulation. Mylar blankets are sometimes given to migrant children in the camps.

Lightsey asked that everyone wear a mylar bracelet.

"We want to remind people that this is not a blanket, this is mylar," she said.

Signs said, "cage-free children," "They're your children," "Do unto others," "kids don't belong in cages," and more.

In front of the courthouse, Megan Perry performed her poem "Safe Places." The poem detailed the neglectful treatment discovered in detention camps.

She started and ended the poem with the same line.

"I believe in safe places, places in this world where everything feels right and nothing bad can happen," she said. Finishing the poem, she tacked on, "I mean, I used to."

Right before the moment of silence, participants were asked to share why they came to the vigil. Joshua Hancock, an art teacher at Maconaquah High School, said he joined the protest not only as a part of his faith, but because he knows the trauma of separation personally.

"As a father of three adopted children, I know the trauma that can leave lifelong marks on a child from being separated from their family," he said. "I stand in solidarity with the borderless, with the children, with the parents that were ripped from their children and can't be with them right now."

Many tears fell during the moment of silence. Afterward, pastor Ryan Sibray of Faith United Methodist and Hillsdale United Methodist churches gave a closing statement.

"....People will excuse policies that hurt people because of fear, fear of the other, fear of the idea that maybe our government is not always doing the right thing...." he said. "Never stop thinking of how you would feel if you were separated from your children, if someone decided that things like blankets, toothpaste, soap and hugs were unnecessary for your children."

React to this story:

7
0
0
2
3