The Princeton community joined in a nation-wide vigil to show support for immigrant rights.
The vigil event on July 12 was organized to put a spotlight on the treatment of immigrant families by the Trump administration.
“The reason I worked on this was because of the national movement. What is important is that we bring attention to what is happening at the border, as well as, bringing to attention what people can do in the days after the rally to help,” said Laura Zurfluh, organizer of Light Up Hinds Plaza.
She said the event had six organizations present that night to help gather names and emails from those who wanted to help after the vigil.
“We also have started a Facebook group and a website where people can go to find resources,” Zurfluh.
Light Up Hinds Plaza was among 23 total rallies or vigils that took place in the state on July 12. All of the rallies and vigils were part of the national Lights for Liberty movement.
“The response to the vigil and rally was overwhelming. There was a lot of people there. Everybody just seemed incensed on what has been going on at our border,” she said. “We had hundreds of people show up, because I think we need a place to have our voices heard about this. I think many Americans are outraged but do not know how to help. That is why we organized this rally.”
During the event people in attendance lit candles in a silent vigil for all those held in U.S. detention camps.
The event drew not only residents, but activists and local officials.
Maria Juega, co-founder of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), Princeton councilwoman Leticia Fraga, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset), Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, director of the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University and Chair of the Board of (LALDEF), and Veronica Olivares-Weber of the Princeton Human Services Commission spoke on the issue of detention camps at the vigil.
“To have these activists and local officials in attendance was important. To know we have representatives in government like Zwicker and Fraga that hold dear the values we hold too is very encouraging to us,” Zurfluh said. “We have people in government who are fighting for what is right.”
According to Zurfluh, it took about two weeks to organize the event.
“We organized a loose coalition for this event. We came up afterwards and decided on the website and Facebook page to continue after the vigil,” she said. “We talked about as well if something like this comes back up again we would be the ones to organize it in the Princeton Community.”
Zurfluh said she hopes people takeaway from the event that Princeton was able to come together with individuals in town and the surrounding areas.
“We made a powerful statement by coming together. We can’t just stop here we must continue the work everyday until we have comprehensive immigration reform, road to citizenship for DACA recipients and until we know these people feel safe in their homes again,” she said.