Demonstrators in Coupeville Friday evening hold up signs protesting immigration policies as part of a national “Lights for Liberty” event. Everson Welch, 3, attended with his family. (Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Demonstrators in Coupeville Friday evening hold up signs protesting immigration policies as part of a national “Lights for Liberty” event. Everson Welch, 3, attended with his family. (Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

Islanders join protest against detention centers

Vigils, signs and demonstrations for ‘Lights for Liberty’ events across Whidbey Friday

Shrouded in silver foil blankets, holding signs high and waving as cars whizzed by Friday evening, participants in Whidbey’s “Lights for Liberty” events said their goal was to bring awareness to the conditions of immigration detention centers.

The Lights for Liberty event, organized in Coupeville by Indivisible Whidbey, drew 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.

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 Coupeville event said Friday they were pleased with the turnout. Last year, Indivisible Whidbey raised money for phone cards for immigrants and this year is raising money for Fair Fight Immigrant Bond Fund, Nolan said.

Besides raising awareness, the group’s ultimate goal is to end such camps, she said.

Marcia Comer of Coupeville walks along the overpass. She said President Trump’s policies and actions have resulted in child abuse and came to the protests on Friday to take action.

Marcia Comer of Coupeville walks along the overpass. She said President Trump’s policies and actions have resulted in child abuse and came to the protests on Friday to take action.

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

(Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times)

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