On Friday evening, Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard, in partnership with the national organization Lights for Liberty, will host a vigil to “End Human Concentration Camps.” The event will take place at 8:15 p.m. in Cannonball Park in Edgartown. The purpose of the vigil is to show solidarity with migrants suffering what some have called human rights abuses at U.S./Mexico border detention centers.
Edgartown’s event is one of approximately 760 vigils occurring on the same day in cities across five continents organized by Lights for Liberty, an organization dedicated to promoting freedom for all people.
The event is co-sponsored by Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard, a political action group spearheaded by year-round resident Carla Cooper. Cooper founded the Vineyard chapter of the liberal-leaning group in January 2017 in response to the change in federal administration.
Attendees should not expect a “flag-waving, sign-holding” protest rally against “this national atrocity,” said Cooper, but rather, a candlelight vigil to recognize the hardships that asylum-seekers are facing.
Holding a vigil on Martha’s Vineyard was important because, “we need to be visible even in remote places. Because we don’t live in a bubble anymore,” Cooper said. “The more voices and people that are involved in this, the bigger the impact.”
Reports from national media outlets have called the detention centers “squalid,” “overcrowded,” and “dangerous.”
As reported by The New York Times, a recent lawsuit against the Trump administration called into question the state of a particular center located in Clint, Texas. A Justice Department lawyer fought back against a 1997 legal settlement, arguing that amenities such as soap and toothbrushes should not be mandatory. All three judges on the case retaliated, and argued that these items fell under the statute of “safe and sanitary” conditions for migrants in temporary holding.
The vigil will begin with remarks from Cooper about the current state of the border crisis, followed by poetry, song, and prayer from a St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church rector. The event will conclude with candle lighting and a collective moment of silence.
The event will be tracked on social media internationally with the hashtag #dontlookaway.