Sol House

Sol House at 510 W. Superior Street on May 2, 2019. Tim Bath | Kokomo Tribune

People from all over the world will gather in their communities on Friday night for candlelight vigils to protest the conditions at migrant detention centers across the country.

Lights for Liberty, “A vigil to end human concentration camps,” is an international event and will take place in at least seven Indiana communities, including Kokomo.

Kokomo’s Lights for Liberty event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sol House, 510 W. Superior St., and will include a walk to the courthouse at 9 p.m. to light candles and have a moment of silence.

Sol House also will be raising money to pay the bail of one immigrant adult being held in detention so she may be reunited with her children. The minimum bail amount is $1,500.

“They’re showing that the quickest way to reunify parents with children is to pay their bail,” said Annie Lightsey, Sol House facilitator and artist in residence.

For months, the growing number of migrants being held in detention centers has been in the news. Poor health conditions at the detention centers recently have been the main concern of activists, lawyers and lawmakers who are advocating for inspections of detention centers immediately.

“It’s continuing to happen, at a more accelerated pace and in some cases without plans in place for parental reunification,” Lightsey said. “So we’re just wanting to see a complete stop to that.”

Lightsey said the vigil is to call for a shutdown of the detention centers and for a way to keep children with their parents through the immigration process at the border.

“Regardless of where you are politically, I think you have to have empathy for what is happening in the detention centers, particularly to the most vulnerable,” Lightsey said.

Community Supported Art (CSA) bags will be filled with donated art from local artists and be auctioned off, as well as posted on Sol House’s Facebook page for purchase, at a minimum price of $75.

Instead of paying Sol House for the bags through the silent auction or Facebook, people will be required to show proof of their donation to Freedom for Immigrants’ National Bond Fund, a fund that is used to pay immigrants' bails so they may be reunited with their families and begin the immigration process.

Lightsey said one of the main reasons for having the event is to show people they can do something to help, despite not being near any detention centers.

She said besides coming to the vigil, people can contact their state representatives about shutting detention centers down and donate to organizations that help immigrants in detention centers.

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