Holding candles and signs, dozens of residents and visitors rallied at Cannonball Park in Edgartown against the treatment of detainees at the southern border of the U.S. “We are Americans, not kidnappers,” one sign read.
“Love, not hate,” read another.
Friday’s event was one of 760 across the country to show solidarity with migrants suffering what some have called human rights abuses at U.S.-Mexico border detention centers. The events, held on the same day in cities across five continents, were organized by Lights for Liberty, an organization dedicated to promoting freedom for all people.
The event was 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.
In an interview before the event, Cooper said, “We need to be visible even in remote places. Because we don’t live in a bubble anymore. 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.