Lights for Liberty vigil

Indivisible Madison, a group of local activists, is hosting a candlelight vigil to protest inhumane conditions at U.S. immigration detention camps. The event in Madison starts at Brittingham Park, 829 W. Washington Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday. 

 

At a Friday evening event, Madison will join communities worldwide to protest the conditions that migrants held in detention camps are facing.

The event is one of hundreds of local candlelight vigils that will be held in communities with organizations that are partnering with Lights for Liberty, a coalition that is galvanizing support to end “human concentration camps.” 

Indivisible Madison, a group of local activists, is hosting the event, which begins at 8 p.m. in Brittingham Park. At 9 p.m. Madison will join in a national candlelight vigil. 

"This is going to be more about empathy than resistance," Linda Kessel of Indivisible Madison said. 

The stage will be located in front of the shelter in Brittingham Park, 829 W. Washington Ave., and attendees will be on the grass. The vigil is expected to take place on the West Washington Avenue overpass bridge. 

“At every detention camp, and in cities, towns, and homes across America, a silent sea of candles will light up the nation,” the Facebook event invitation stated.

Candles are provided, according to the event invitation. Organizers state that by choosing to attend the event, attendees will commit to participating non-violently. 

Indivisible Madison has applied for an ASL interpreter, chairs and picnic tables will be available for seating, and space will be designated for wheelchairs. The parking lot at the park has 59 parking spaces, and an additional seven are designated near the park shelter for people with disabilities.

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Speakers for the event include Judge Everett Mitchell; UW-Madison student Cecelia McDermott, who recently visited the border; Maggie Musgrave of Alitas Angels, an organizing collecting and shipping baby clothes to Arizona; Rabbi Andrea Steinberger from UW Hillel; Beth Alleman, a registered nurse and organizer with Indivisible Madison; Pastor Mary Pharmer, who lived in the Annunciation House community in El Paso, TX where she provided support to migrants; and Shabnam Lofti, a local immigration attorney. 

In a press release Friday, Indivisible Madison said local leaders from the Latino community are not speaking at the event. They told event organizers that the presidential administration has caused an "emotional toll" on the entire Latino population, according to the release.  

Lights for Liberty is described as a “loose coalition of grassroots activists” that has support from immigrants’ rights organizations and other organizers. Five main events will be held Friday in El Paso, San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Homestead/Miami, FL. 

Co-founder Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin said in a press release that the organization began when she shared her observations in a series of tweets of migrant camps along the southern border. 

“One month and one day later, millions around the world will stand in vigil and in outrage against this administration’s heartless policies and crimes against humanity,” McLaughlin said. “We intend to be here for as long as it takes, until every last detainee, in every last camp, is free.”

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.