Thousands of people around the world will light candles Friday in a silent vigil to protest the treatment of immigrants at the US-Mexico border.
These vigils will be hosted by the organization Lights for Liberty at 9 p.m. in over 554 locations across the globe. Gainesville will host its own vigil at the City Hall Complex on 200 E. University Avenue.
Lights for Liberty aims to spread awareness to the inhumane conditions immigrants are living in detention centers at the border and protest the policies the Trump administration has put in place.
Jyoti Parmar, founder and president of North Central Florida Indivisible, will be co-hosting the event with local clergy and activists such as Jenna Preble. The Gainesville event will begin at 7:30 p.m. with activists and affected individuals speaking about human detention camps.
According to Preble, the tentative list of speakers includes Marcie de Stefan Alvarado, Margaret Hamer, Larry Green, Tyra Edwards, Jyoti Parmar and Parmar’s son, Aagneya. At 9 p.m., participants will light their candles.
Local resident Karenn Castro plans to take part in the event and encourages others to do the same.
“The Lights for Liberty event is important for the community because, though it may seem like many are aware of what’s going on, just as many are unbothered by it, unaware of it, too busy to even have time to look it up,” Castro said.
The organization hopes the vigil inspires participants to join the cause.
“At the end, I hope that attendees are motivated to take tangible action in this fight for justice in the form of witnessing these camps, making donations to organizations fighting for justice and working to elect compassionate legislators,” Preble said.
Preble said that participants should come with the candle app downloaded on their phone, a bottle of water and their voices ready to be heard.
Donations to support Madres Sin Fronteras, a Gainesville organization dedicated to creating policy at the local level that opposes anti-immigration legislation, will be accepted.
Participants can text “Lights” to 977-79 for more information about the vigil.
“Never again is now, and the American people will not allow the knowing and purposeful abuse and criminal neglect of children and families at our door,” Parmar said. “We will not let this happen in our time, in our name.”