Lights for Liberty to Hold Detention Camp Vigils in OC

Photo: Dazzle Jam

Though the U.S. government has been rounding up undocumented immigrants and deporting them for many years now, the Trump Administration has injected new and disturbing cruelty into the operation, especially by separating families. Many of these families are coming to the U.S. to seek asylum. Last week, NBC News reported that this policy in particular is seriously damaging thousands of children who have been locked up in filthy cages.

“Children do not belong in Customs and Border Protection facilities, or in any detention facilities,” Dr. Sara Goza, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in the NBC News story. “No amount of time spent in these facilities is safe for children. More children will continue to die if we do not make sure that every child who passes through federal custody is seen by a pediatric-trained medical professional. I personally toured two CBP facilities and did not encounter a single pediatrician at either one.”

On the night of Friday, July 12, Lights for Liberty will hold candlelight vigils all over the world to protest these immigration detention camps. Four of these vigils will take place in Orange County. Unlike the raucous protests we’ve been seeing lately, these vigils will be far more subdued.

It’s going to be a very solemn and hopeful occasion,” Robin Gurien, who’s helping organizing the Santa Ana vigil, told me. ” It will be faithful, but not religious. We’ll express love and hope, not just for the people in detention, but for the world–that we can move beyond where we are now.”

Gurien is an Irvine resident who works in human resources. While no stranger to activism, this is the first event she’s taken a lead role in organizing. “I’ve been paying attention to the news,” she said. “I’ve been following the story. I became really upset last week when I heard about the children at the Homestead facility in Florida. It seemed to be a common practice.”

The Santa Ana vigil will take place outside the ICE facility (34 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana). There will be songs and speakers, some of whom will give first-hand testimony about conditions in the detention camps. The candle-lighting will take place at 9 p.m. Gurien said people planning to attend should bring blankets and jackets in case it gets chilly, as well as candles (or flashlights) and their mobile phone, so they can download the readings and songs being highlighted at the vigil.

“We also encourage people to be respectful,” Gurien said. “This is a family-friendly event.”

The vigils will start 8 p.m. The other three OC events will take place at these locations:

Brea: The corner of State College Boulevard and Imperial Highway

Irvine: The corner of Culver Drive and Alton Parkway

Orange: The Theo Lacy facility

Gurien said it was likely there would be similar events like these in the future.

“I have no doubt that these vigils will continue,” Gurien said. “We should not be withholding resources for safety and care. When I think of the most formative years of a child’s experience, it’s between the ages of five and eight. When we take these children and put them in an environment with no hope, parents, food, or water, we are doing long-term permanent damage. I will continue to speak out, and I have no doubt my friends will continue, too.”

The event was made possible with assistance from the DemOCPac, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and OC Jewish Coalition for Refugees, Gurien added.

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