By Tia Lynn Ivey
This week Madison Town Park will join hundreds of nationwide demonstrations planned for the same day advocating for the human rights of migrants detained at the Southern Border. Organizers are calling the event “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps.”
On Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m., the vigil will be held in Madison’s Town Park to bring attention to humanitarian crisis currently unfolding as a barrage of recent investigative news reports have revealed inhumane conditions at migrant detention facilities, for both children and adults. The situation has prompted a slew of nationwide protests, demonstrations and vigils.
Jeanne Dufort, a local member of the Morgan County Democrats and organizer of the event, is hoping the local community will turn out to this vigil to raise awareness about the current migrant crisis and the dire circumstances migrants face in U.S. detention centers. The vigil will also provide opportunities for attendees to commit their time and resources to this cause.
According to Dufort, the nationwide events this Friday “will bring thousands of Americans to detention camps across the country, into the streets and public places and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees.”
The demonstration at Madison’s Town Park will feature speakers, readings, music before closing at 9 p.m with a candlelight vigil and moment of silence. Donations will be collected for relief organizations.
Cherish Johnson, a volunteer for Casa Colibri, an organization that supports detainees in Irwin, Ga., will be the featured speaker at Friday evening’s vigil.
“We will have opportunities to sign up to support their work, including providing supplies, volunteering to be a weekend host, to become a pen pal to a detainee and to donate directly,” said Dufort.
According to the website, Casa Colibrí, which means “Hummingbird House,” is a hospitality house near Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. “We provide a comfortable resting place, meals, lodging, and friendship every weekend for families and friends of persons detained at Irwin, free of charge.”
Johnson will speak about her organizations and the broader migrant crisis happening in America.
Dufort is hoping to draw bipartisan support in this cause.
“For one evening, we are asking that people step away from partisan positions and policy ideas,” said Dufort. “We are asking our neighbors and friends to take a moment and feel, really feel, the pain that actual human beings are experiencing on our watch, and to call for an end to cruel practices, now.”
One of the groups facilitating the nationwide demonstrations is the New Sanctuary Coalition, an advocacy organization “led by and for immigrants to stop the inhumane system of deportations and detentions in this country.”
“We shine a light on the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees by the current administration. To be silent is to be complicit. To sit this out is to be complacent. Now is a time to stand for what is best in all of us, to stop the worst of us. We must stand for one another. At New Sanctuary Coalition, we hold in our hearts a vision of a world worth fighting for,” said Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition.
Over 170 Light for Liberty vigils are planned across the country and globe for July 12. Each event will include advocates, activists and impacted persons who will speak on the issue of human detention camps in the United States. “At 9 p.m., around the country and around the world, participants will light candles in a silent vigil for all those held in US detention camps to bring light to the darkness of the administration’s horrific policies,” said Dufort.