A "Lights of Freedom" vigil to raise awareness and demand an end to the "inhuman treatment" of immigrants on the Mexican border is expected to draw hundreds of people to the Plaza Fiesta shopping center on Friday 12 July. The vigil is part of a national campaign to draw attention to the crisis.
The vigil is scheduled for 19:00 to 21:00. at Plaza Fiesta at 4166 Buford Highway in Chamblee on the Brookhaven border.
Speakers at the event include State Representative Brenda Lopez (D-Norcross) and Teresa Tomlinson, a former mayor of Columbus, Georgia, who is now a candidate for the US Senate to address the looming David Perdue in 2020. Prayers for detained immigrants will be led by Christian, Jewish and unitary-universalist clergy.
The Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, which works with immigrants living on the Buford Highway in Brookhaven and nearby cities, is a co-presenter on the eve.
News reports in recent weeks about overcrowding and poor condition of migrant children at a border patrol facility in Clint, Texas have helped spur "Lights for Liberty" vigils in Georgia and the United States, according to a press release . Vigils are taking place as US immigration and customs enforcement plans call for immigration incursions across the country on Sunday, according to media reports.
"We are outraged by the fact that migrant children have been denied the most basic of needs and that these serious violations of their human rights have gone unnoticed," Rev. Fabio Sotelo of the Episcopal Church of St. Bede near Tucker. "We must pray for justice for the most innocent and vulnerable".
Lights for Liberty is a coalition of grassroots activists, with the support of long-standing immigrant rights organizations and other organizers, according to its website. Five major events will be held on July 12 in El Paso, San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Homestead and Miami, Florida.
Other faith and immigrant rights groups that hosted the Plaza Fiesta event include the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing, Atlanta's New Sanctuary Movement, Faith in Public Life, El Refugio at the Stewart Detention Center, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Congregation Bet Haverim, Compassionate Atlanta, We Are March On Georgia, IndivisibleGa04, Georgia Women, New American Pathways and DeKalb Democratic Women.
"We must raise the voice for those who have no voice to ensure that these detention camps are not allowed to remain open in these conditions," said the rev. Tom Hagood of the New Sanctuary Movement in Atlanta in the release.
The New Sanctuary Movement in Atlanta held a vigil last year at Plaza Fiesta to pray for families that were separated and held by the United States for immigration and customs.
Other Atlanta subway vigils are scheduled in Alpharetta, Clarkston, Cumming, Holly Springs and Lawrenceville. Vigils are also held in Athens, Blueridge, Columbus, Dahlonega, Madison, Macon, Savannah, Statesboro and Watkinsville.