Shrouded in silver foil blankets, holding signs high and waving as cars whizzed by Friday evening, participants in Whidbey’s “Lights for Liberty” event said their goal was to bring awareness to the conditions of immigration detention centers.
The event, organized by Indivisible Whidbey, brought out about 100 people to protest the conditions and treatment of those attempting to cross the border into the U.S.
“I think there are so many people who are desperate to figure out how they can help,” said Dawna Nolan, co-leader of Indivisible Whidbey. “They just want to do something.”
The foil blankets were intended to invoke imagery of the same blankets given to immigrants by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol workers, she said.
Whidbey’s events, including the Lights for Liberty vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeland, were part of demonstrations held nationally on Friday.
Lights for Liberty demonstrators in Coupeville walked along the intersection of Main Street and Highway 20 and atop the pedestrian overpass.
“The impact on children is severe,” Nolan said. “It’s just so egregious — the human rights violations are just above and beyond…families don’t belong in jail.”
Nolan emphasized that Indivisible Whidbey is a nonpartisan group, though its goals often align with Democrats, she said.
But for some demonstrators, the protest was undeniably political.
“I’m tired of crying and feeling bad, and I wanted to do something,” Marcia Comer of Coupeville said.
She came to the event with a sign that read “Shine a light on Trump’s crimes against humanity, children.”
“I hold him responsible,” Comer said, adding that abusing children is never OK.
While there were many horn honks and waves in solidarity, there were also those who didn’t support the sight, including passerby Dean ‘Dean-o’ Patterson of Clinton.
“If you want to come to America, come through our process,” he said.
Organizers of the events said Friday they were pleased with the turnout. Last year, Indivisible Whidbey raised money for phone cards for immigration and this year is raising money for Fair Fight Immigrant Bond Fund, Nolan said.