By Mike Kinney
Dozens of community members gathered at Richmond Civic Center Plaza on Friday for a vigil to protest conditions facing immigrants seeking asylum on the U.S. southern border.
The Lights for Liberty event was among hundreds of similar vigils held in cities throughout the world Friday night.
Richmond’s event was organized by former Richmond Councilmember Ada Recinos, the Latina Center, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia’s office and others.
Residents, some attending with their families, held up signs that read “Families belong together,” “it’s a dangerous time to stay woke,” and others protesting the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis on the border.
Miriam Wong, the executive director of the Latina Center, called reported overcrowding and squalid conditions at border detention centers “unacceptable.”
“We cannot accept accept what the Trump administration is doing against migrant children and families,” Wong said. “We have to stand together and say to Trump to stop! Enough is enough!”
Recinos said refugees escaping potentially fatal situations in their native countries need compassion, not jails.
“We’re coming here today to acknowledge that they have a right to seek asylum in this country, but there are human rights violations happening at the border and we have to do something about it,” Recinos said.
Gioia, who helped organize the event but could not attend the vigil as he was headed out of town, issued a statement:
“Trump’s actions to separate children from their families is reprehensible and immoral. His actions do not represent what we stand for in this country. We must stand up, resist and protect vulnerable families.”