Eastsiders gathered at the Redmond Downtown Park on July 12 for the Lights for Liberty Vigil to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants in concentration camps across the country.
Community members stood on all four intersections near Downtown Park, waving signs, banners and chanting “Close the Camps” and “No Kids in Cages.”
On that Friday, thousands of people worldwide gathered together on streets, front yards, churches, parks and concentration camps across the country. Key vigil locations were held in Washington, DC; El Paso, Texas; San Diego, California; Homestead, Florida; and New York City. There were 46 vigils held across Washington state, including Kirkland, Mercer Island, Seattle, Everett and Spokane. There were more than 800 vigils across the world, including gatherings in Australia, France, Japan and more.
“I think it’s fabulous that there’s power in the people,” said Indivisible Eastside committee member Joan Yim. “By people just giving up time to come out and do this across the country says something. It sends a real signal that this policy is awful.”
Under President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, federal authorities separated children from parents or guardians with whom they had entered the United States illegally. Adults are prosecuted and held in federal jails, meanwhile children are placed under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. In June 2019, an inspection of the Clint, Texas detainment center holding migrant children found that children were being held in “dirty, neglectful, and dangerous conditions.”
“I’m beyond distressed at what happens to be concentration camps,” Bellevue resident Oolla Kaplan said. “It’s very painful to know that this could happen in our country again. I don’t want these children and people treated this way…we need a democracy, we need our democracy.”
Recent Redmond High School graduate Andrea Orozpe-Vazquez said she gets it.
“My parents are immigrants here and seeing how the kids are taken away from their parents… that’s not OK,” she said. “It’s a crime. Its like kidnapping. It’s not fair.”
At the protest, community members signed three “Close The Camps” banners that were delivered to congress members Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Maria Cantewell (D-WA) and Rep. Suzane DelBene (WA-01).
Indivisible Eastside committee member Louise Pathe said this is the first rally the organization has put together. She said it was the volunteers who organized the protest.
“It was really a cry out from the community to do this,” she said, “[The turnout] is great..how can you sit at home when this kind of stuff is happening?”
Pathe said the protest was to help raise awareness to those who might be aware but it was also for the people with immigrant backgrounds to know that there are people who care. Pathe shared a story of a FedEx man who joined the protest. Pathe said the FedEx employee shared with her how he had experienced a racist remark on the highway the day before, and to drive by the protest it really touched him to the point where he had to stop and join.
Eastsiders received informational fliers about what to do if ICE come to people’s doors and actions to protect immigrant children and families. At the protest, Indivisible Eastside collected $590 for the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) fair fight bond fund.
The protest was hosted by Indivisible Eastside. The organization’s purpose is to enable concerned citizens and residents of Seattle’s Eastside to block the agenda of President Trump and his enablers. Indivisible Eastside covers Washington’s 1st, 8th and 9th Congressional districts.
Lights for Liberty is a coalition of people dedicated to human rights and the fundamental principle behind democracy — that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity.
For more information on Lights for Liberty see, www.lightsforliberty.org.
For more information on Indivisible Eastside see, www.indivisibleeastside.com.