Asheville residents to participate in Lights for Liberty, July 12

Press release from Asheville Business Arts: 

This Friday, July 12 at Vance Monument, Lights for Liberty: Asheville will be held as part of a nationwide series of events protesting the detainment of asylum-seekers and children at the border.

In response to widespread outrage at the human rights crisis of concentration camps at the border of the United States and Mexico on US soil, events are being held in cities across the nation on this day, as well as in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico and more – with over 1,000 events planned. A Candlelight Vigil and Moment of Silence will take place at 9:00 PM local time at each of these events.

Four area mothers came together to hold the Asheville event, inviting the community to speak to this issue, come together in solidarity supporting the local immigrant community, and learn how to help from local nonprofits working on racial justice and with the Latinx community.

Speakers include Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Valeria Carrizo Wyda of BeLoved, Pisgah Legal Services Executive Director Jim Barrett, Norma Duran Brown, Latinx community advocate of De MUJER a MUJER NC, Congressional Candidate Dr. Steve Woodsmall, Magaly Urdiales of Center for Participatory Change, representatives from local churches and the LGBTQ community, and more.

There will be voter registration in Spanish and English, with info tables by Asheville Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and BeLoved, and a postcard protest area where kids saddened by the news can get involved by writing postcards to officials. Both CIMA and Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller have provided official statements on these issues to share with attendees.

Free Radio is making their first comeback appearance bringing conscious hip hop, and Juan Holladay will perform and invite attendees to observe the moment of silence. Local singers who feel strongly about this cause will also perform.

The event takes place from 5:30-9:30 PM, with music and speakers beginning at 6:00 PM. Co-organizers Kari Manley and Brooke Losey describe the event as family-friendly, “Our vision for this event is to create together an environment of safety, solidarity and sanctuary. You will notice core volunteers wearing white shirts with this symbol. Safety, solidarity and sanctuary are the guiding principles for this event and ultimately the change we’re working toward in the world. There has been far too much violence and pain at the border and in our community.

We’ve brought together what are often divergent voices across government, nonprofits, artists, faith leaders and our community to stand together against these atrocities and share resources for ways to help those whose lives are affected. For one day, if only in one corner of the world, we would like to create unity and a welcome space for all ages, creeds, gender expressions, and cultures.”

Manley adds, “I vehemently believe that a human’s value is not measured by their birthplace, religion, or sexuality. It is measured by their actions and their willingness to stand up for those that are oppressed.”

Losey says, “If you are appalled at the treatment of refugees in detainment camps in the United States, join us at the monument. This is part of a nationwide series of events to protest the inhumane conditions happening now in concentration camps holding children and those seeking asylum in the U.S.”

Both organizers reiterate that this is a non-violent demonstration and ask for the public’s cooperation in not disrupting the event to allow all speakers and participants to be heard. The Safety Solidarity Sanctuary tee shirts will be available for purchase online with all proceeds benefiting local nonprofits working to support the Latinx community. Full schedule for the Asheville event can be found here with more information on all Lights for Liberty events here 

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