Candlelight vigil set for Friday night at Main Beach cobblestones
More than 100 Laguna Beach residents and activists joined communities nationwide to demand the closure of U.S. child detention centers. Local organizers held a “Close the Camps” day of action on Tuesday, July 2, to demand the closure of immigrant detention centers that are subjecting children and families to dehumanizing conditions.
About 125 people—including children and babies in strollers—gathered at Main Beach Park to voice their concern and call on members of Congress to close the camps and refuse to authorize further funding for family detention and deportation. Attendees filled out postcards asking their legislators to personally visit detention camps during the July 4 break to bear witness to the reported conditions.
One of the speakers, Tim Burns of the Orange County Justice Fund, said his nonprofit operates an immigrant bond fund that works to get people out of ICE detention.
“So far, 14 people have been freed and reunited with their families, and tomorrow we will hear whether another person who poses no flight risk or danger will be released,” Burns said during the July 2 rally.
Pastor Rodrick Echols of Neighborhood Congregational Church read the names of six children who have died in U.S. custody to date and held a moment of silence to remember them.
“The terrible conditions we are hearing about are part of an intentional strategy of deterrence by the administration to criminalize immigration and dismantle asylum laws,” said rally organizer Barbara McMurray. “It is important to bear in mind that it is legal to cross into the U.S. border and present oneself for asylum, and to then remain inside the U.S. until a hearing. These laws have been cast aside by the current administration, and the direct result is the chaos at our southern border. As people of conscience, it is our duty to come together to permanently endforced family separations and detention and denial of bond hearings. We demand that the U.S. government abide by U.S. and international law and observe recent federal court decisions. In plain language, follow the law—close the camps and reunite families.”
Lights for Liberty Vigil Tonight
On Friday, July 12, Lights for Liberty will bring thousands of people and hundreds of organizations to over 650 locations around the world to hold a vigil in protest of inhumane detention camps across the country.
The Laguna Beach vigil will be held on the cobblestones at Main Beach from 8-9:30 p.m. Participants are invited to bring a non-flammable candle or light (flashlights, solar candle, etc.). In other fire-prone areas, people will be using a candle app on their phones. Organizers will also have some lights on hand to share.