For Immediate Release


‘Lights for Liberty’ Candlelight Vigil Will Shine Light on Inhumane Detention Camps


Contact: media@mhrn.org for statewide information and to be routed to a local contact

 

In candlelight vigils on Friday, July 12, Montanans in seven cities across the state will protest cruel and inhumane U.S. detention and separation of families fleeing violence in Central America and elsewhere.


“Separating children from their parents or guardians at the US/Mexico border is a moral outrage,” said Laura Folkwein, Associate Pastor at University Congregational Church, Missoula, and acting chair of Montanans for Immigrant Justice (MIJ). “The traumatic consequences for these children will be long lasting. We refuse to accept that caging and abusing children is a solution to any problem in our country or on our southern border. We also gather to demonstrate to our immigrant friends and neighbors, especially families already separated or fearful of separation, that we will not allow immigrant family separation to continue.”


“The calls just keep coming in to our office. Folks are horrified, sad and angry all at once” said Rachel Carroll Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network, which is helping to coordinate events around the state. “We can’t just sit at home, trying not to look at the image of another child drowned from struggling to reach safety. Montana matters, our senators control the purse strings keeping these children in detention camps. Family to family, we encourage others to gather, write and call our senators now,”


The vigil is part of a national event on the same day called “Lights for Liberty,” a mass mobilization across the country bringing thousands of Americans to detention camps, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees. Five main events will be held in El Paso, San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami.


“Our current government policies for the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers are inhumane and often illegal,” said Helena Lovick, co-organizer for the Great Falls Community Action Team. “We are gathering to shine a light on these human rights abuses, protest the continued family separations, and call for both transparency and accountability about conditions at the border camps. Family separation is shockingly cruel and we refuse to accept that caging and abusing people is the solution. We demand our members of Congress and government stand up for what is right and fix this now.”

 

Missoula’s hour-long Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7:30 p.m. outside St. Paul Lutheran Church, 202 Brooks St. Event organizers include Montanans for Immigrant Justice, Missoula Rises, Soft Landing Missoula, Montana Human Rights Network, and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center. For more information, please contact Erin Erickson at erickson@bebtlaw.com


Helena’s Vigil to End Human Detention Camps begins at 7 p.m. in Constitution Park (6th and Last Chance Gulch) in downtown Helena and will feature songs, immigrant stories and voices of solidarity from the Indigenous and Jewish community. The event is organized by the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, please contact Rachel Carroll Rivas at media@mhrn.org.


Bozeman’s Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7 p.m. at the Gallatin County Courthouse, 205 E Main St. Event organizers include PFLAG Bozeman and the Montana Human Rights Network. For more  information, please contact Michelle Grabbe at mgrabbe1008@msn.com


Billings’ Lights for Liberty Vigil begins at 7 p.m. at Billings First Church, 310 N 27th St. Event organizers include Billings First Church and Billings Sanctuary Rising and the Montana Human Rights Network For more information, please contact Rev. Mike Mullberry at revmikemul@firstchurchbillings.org


In Great Falls, the Lights for Liberty Rally will be the following day, Saturday July 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Great Falls Civic Center, 2 S Park Dr. Event organizers include Great Falls Community Action Team and the Montana Human Rights Network. For more information, please contact Helena Lovick, Great Falls Community Action Team at gfcommunityactionteam@gmail.com


In Kalispell, Close the Camps event will be held at the Museum at Central School at 124 2nd Ave from 5:30-7:00 pm on July 12th. At the event there will be a collection for personal care items for migrant workers in the area. For more information, please contact Cherilyn DeVries at info@loveliveshereflathead.org

 

In Thompson Falls, the Light for Liberty event will be held at the Sanders County Courthouse at 1111 W Main in Thompson Falls, Mt. on July 12th at 7:00 pm.


All human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity. These fundamental rights are not negotiable

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