The Lights for Liberty Vigil to End Human Detention Camps at 7:30 pm this Friday July 12 to at the McHenry County Jail will attract hundreds of participants from across the Chicago metropolitan area and Northern Illinois. Although there are dozens of other local Lights for Liberty actions across the region, including one in near-by Crystal Lake, the Woodstock rally is the only one at a facility housing immigration detainees.
The McHenry County Sherriff’s Department controversially rents the fourth floor of the Jail to the U.S. Marshall’s service to hold adult immigrants awaiting status hearings, appeals, or deportation orders who have been rounded up across Northern Illinois. Criticized as a “cash cow” for McHenry County coffers, the facility holds detainees not only from Mexico and Central America, but from across the globe including Africans, Asians, and Europeans.
The nation-wide Lights for Liberty events have been organized by “a coalition of people, many of whom are mothers, dedicated to human rights, and the fundamental principle behind democracy that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity. We are partnering with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that these fundamental rights are not negotiable and are willing to protect them.”
According to Patrick Murfin, an organizer of the Woodstock event and co-chair of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Justice Team, there was a groundswell of interest in the event especially “after disclosures of shocking conditions and abuse in holding facilities for children at the border and President Trump’s threat of massive round-up raids to round up entire families across the country which has terrified whole communities.
“We will callout immigrant detentions camps for the shame of what they really are—American concentration camps.”
The event will begin with a rally on the grassy area across from the jail along Seminary Avenue—Route 47—in Woodstock between Ware Road and Russel Court. Speakers from organizations fighting for immigration justice and members of the impacted communities will highlight all aspects of the abusive system including the infamous border detention camps, the plight of children and separated families, sexual abuse and violence in detention facilities, the abandonment of traditional processes for applying for asylum, and the special dangers faced by LGBTQ persons.
A candlelight vigil at McHenry County Jail/Immigrant Detention center one year ago
At 9 pm the candle light vigil will begin, coordinating with other actions across the country. Participants are urged to bring friends, signs, candles.
The event is co-sponsored by Indivisible Illinois, Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC-IL), McHenry County Democratic Party, McHenry County Democratic Women’s Club, McHenry County National Organization for Women (NOW), McHenry County Progressives, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), Woodstock Pride, and the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Justice Team.
Some of Lights for Liberty Woodstock sponsors
Parking will be available in the Northwood Junior High school lot across Rt. 47, in the County Health Clinic parking lot at the corner of Ware Road and Rt. 47, and along Russel Court. No parking will be permitted in the Jail lot. Marshalls in reflective vests will be available to assist.