Across the world, protestors will gather at 9 p.m. Friday, July 12, in support of Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.
The candlelight vigil is a protest against "inhumane conditions faced by migrants," according to the Lights for Liberty website. The event is being organized by "a coalition, many of whom are mothers, dedicated to human rights ... ."
Area residents can participate at Legion Park. Or people who don't want to go to the park are asked to light a candle and stand on their front porches or in their streets.
The Owensboro Human Relations Commission and Nonviolent Owensboro are co-hosting the local vigil at 9 p.m. Friday at Legion Park. People are asked to gather at the pavilion closest to East Byers Avenue and J.R. Miller Boulevard starting as early as 8:30 p.m.
"Speaking from the Human Relations Commission, we deal with a citizen's rights concerning housing and equal employment opportunities," said Kaitlin Nonweiler, OHRC executive director. "But we would like to focus on human rights globally. It is important that, while we are not in close proximity to the (Mexican) border, we need to know what is going on. We need to let our elected officials know we do not condone what is going on."
A website dedicated to Lights for Liberty shows several other Kentucky communities -- Danville, Florence, Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville and Paris -- also are staging events. Key events are being staged in New York City, San Diego and Washington, D.C., to name a few large cities.
"Across this country, we have witnessed acts against people fleeing persecution many of us thought we would never see in modern times," the Lights for Liberty website said.
"Perhaps most terrifying," according to Lights for Liberty, "refugees are beginning to be moved onto military grounds, where there will be a lack of oversight from the media, lawyers, and human rights monitors."
In Owensboro, the Rev. Claudia Ramisch, who leads the Unitarian Universalist Church, will lead Friday night's service.
"We may also have another speaker to say something in Spanish," Nonweiler said. "We would like to include both languages."
Candles will be provided. The event will include a moment of silence. The audience will be asked to sing "This Land Is Your Land."
Nonweiler said organizers hope to have a song sung in Spanish as well.
"We will have images of the detention centers or concentration camps," she said.
Those photographs will be displayed on easels for public viewing.
Along with Friday night's vigil, the OHRC hopes to stage a bigger awareness event later. Nonweiler hopes some of Owensboro's asylum seekers and migrants will share their stories. Also, the event may incorporate readings from the personal accounts of migrants presently waiting at the Mexican border.
The date, time and location for that event will be announced later, Nonweiler said.
Anyone who joins Friday night's vigil from their home is asked to take photographs and post them to social media, using #lights4liberty, #dontlookaway and #endusconcentrationcamps.
For more information about the vigil, go to lightsforliberty.org.
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com.