KINGSTON – The Lights of Liberty vigil, held Friday evening in front of Kingston City Hall, drew a large crowd of area residents and human rights organizations protesting the conditions held at the Mexican detention camps in America.
The most prominent organizations attending the event were Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson and Citizen Action of New York, with Dianna Lopez representing the former and Fanon Fraizer representing the latter. The two lead chants of “say it loud, say it proud,” “The refugees are welcome here” and “brown, black, and white, we all unite for immigrant rights.”
Father Frank Alagna, a priest of the Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church and a member of the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network called on the attendees to “Think about someone you love being caged in a space in which he or she does not have enough room to sit down, much thus lie down. Think about your child being deprived of the embrace of your loving arms; now imagine you not being able to do anything about it.”
Panamanian immigrant Daisey Tyler, a member of the League of Women Voters, said “We only have hope in the judicial system to stop this man [President Donald Trump],” Tyler said. “We have to go to the streets to defend our country and our constitution.”
Attorney David Clegg, the Democratic candidate for Ulster County District Attorney, said as part of his campaign, he aims to focus on rehabilitation of immigrants before incarceration, as he says that district attorneys typically focus on incarceration before rehabilitation.
Toward the end, candles were lit as part of the vigil ceremony, with Kingston being one of over 600 demonstrations being conducted simultaneously across five continents regarding the conditions of detention camps.
Music was also provided by Tin Horn Uprising, a group that performed protest songs between speakers.