Chants of “No hate, no fear; immigrants are welcome here,” echoed through the streets of downtown Colorado Springs on Friday, July 12, as over 200 people attended the city’s Lights for Liberty protest.
The event happened the same day the Trump administration announced that large-scale immigration raids were planned for 10 major cities, including Denver, starting on July 14. That never materialized; however, a small number of coordinated federal raids targeting undocumented migrant parents and their children launched Sunday, July 14, The New York Times
The Friday demonstration was one of nearly 800 that took place across the world in protest of inhumane living conditions faced by migrants in the United States. “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps” is the self-defined human rights coalition responsible for organizing the international protests.
The event began at 7 p.m. outside of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, 27 E. Vermijo Ave. A diverse group of protesters joined the march, including mothers and their young children, students from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and roughly a dozen members of High Plains Unitarian Universalist Church (HPUUC).
Jerima King, an immigration activist who was arrested in June 2018 while protesting family separation laws, spoke about her time volunteering at shelters in Laredo, Texas
“Who are these detainees? They are people so desperate that they cross rivers and deserts and turn themselves in to border patrol,” she said. “People are crossing [the border] on their own because they are not allowed to petition for asylum at points of entry.”
Another speaker, Sanda Dangle, said: “We can’t be quiet anymore. We need to fight what’s going on.”
The protesters marched north up Tejon Street, eventually turning east on Platte Avenue and looping back to the sheriff’s office via Nevada and Vermijo avenues. Several passing cars showed their support by honking their horns and cheering, though others expressed their disagreement with Lights for Liberty.
The demonstration ended with a candlelight vigil and final speakers outside of the sheriff’s office. During the vigil, a volunteer read the names of migrants who have died while in U.S. custody at the border.
Clare Twomey, the pastor at Vista Grande Community Church, urged the crowd to continue fighting for migrant rights.
“[Migrants’] stories do not belong to us, but they allow us to understand what it means to be human,” she told the teary-eyed crowd. “[This protest] is worthless if that’s all we do... Our liberation is bound to those who are currently in cages.”