Richmond Lights for Liberty Vigil, Protests U.S. Border Conditions

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Richmond community members brought signs protesting conditions facing migrant families on the U.S. southern border to a Lights for Liberty vigil at Richmond Civic Center on, July 12, 2019. Photo by Mike Kinney.

Dozens of community mem­bers gathered at Richmond Civic Center Plaza on Friday for a vigil to protest conditions facing immigrants seeking asylum on the U.S. southern border.

The Lights for Liberty event was among hundreds of similar vigils held in cities throughout the world Friday night.

Richmond’s event was or­ganized by former Richmond Councilmember Ada Reci­nos, the Latina Center, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia’s office and others.

Residents, some attending with their families, held up signs that read “Families be­long together,” “it’s a danger­ous time to stay woke,” and others protesting the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis on the border.

Miriam Wong, the executive director of the Latina Center, called reported overcrowding and squalid conditions at bor­der detention centers “unac­ceptable.”

“We cannot accept accept what the Trump administration is doing against migrant chil­dren and families,” Wong said. “We have to stand together and say to Trump to stop! Enough is enough!”

Recinos said refugees es­caping potentially fatal situa­tions in their native countries need compassion, not jails.

“We’re coming here today to acknowledge that they have a right to seek asylum in this country, but there are human rights violations happening at the border and we have to do something about it,” Recinos said.

Gioia, who helped organize the event but could not attend the vigil as he was headed out of town, issued a statement:

“Trump’s actions to sepa­rate children from their fami­lies is reprehensible and im­moral. His actions do not represent what we stand for in this country. We must stand up, resist and protect vulnerable families.”

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