Together Frankfort will host a vigil Friday as part of a national movement to shine a light on and put an end to human detention camps at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Lights for Liberty: A Nationwide Vigil to End Human Detention Camps" encompasses more than 100 vigils that will be held the same day around the country, according to Together Frankfort's website. Other Kentucky cities where vigils will be held include Berea, Florence, Lexington and Paris.
Together Frankfort, a citizens group that encourages civic engagement, has invited residents of Frankfort and beyond, as well as various elected officials. The Frankfort event will take place at 7 p.m. Friday on the lower steps of the Capitol.
Some of the scenes in Border Patrol facilities include a teenage mother in pain hunched over her premature baby while sitting in a wheelchair at a Texas facility and young girls being tasked with caring for a toddler by a Border Patrol agent, according to The Associated Press.
Speakers will include advocates, activists and those impacted by the situation. At 9 p.m., attendees will light candles in a silent vigil "for all those held in U.S. detention camps to bring light to the darkness of the Trump administration's horrific policies." Musicians Jeri Katherine Howell and Nate Orshan will lead the crowd in song.
Karen Armstrong-Cummings, a co-chair of Together Frankfort, said that the group doesn't typically organize events around national events, but the situation at the southern border calls for action. As parents of children, the group is "outraged by what is happening at the border," Armstrong-Cummings said.
Another member of Together Frankfort, Mark Strickland, penned a column about the border situation in The State Journal on Wednesday. Armstrong-Cummings said that the column highlights some of the group's internal feelings.
"How can we accept that our government is doing things that conform to the UN definition of genocide?" Strickland wrote.
Armstrong-Cummings said that the group is still searching for speakers for the event, especially a person who could speak about the border crisis as an immigrant, why people migrate to the U.S. and his or her own experience.
"It's important that elected officials hear from us because they are people who can change the policy," Armstrong-Cummings said.
Together Frankfort sent postcards about Lights for Liberty to government officials at all levels with help from the Kentucky Correspondence Club. So far, the groups haven't received an answer that she knows of.
Attending the vigil is important for two reasons — to learn about what is happening at the southern border and to learn how to take action, Armstrong-Cummings said.
While the issue may seem like miles away from Frankfort, it affects area farmers who may employ immigrants, Armstrong-Cummings said. This could affect Frankfort's economy and then more local ways of life.
For questions about Together Frankfort, visit the group's website at www.togetherfrankfort.org. Attendees at Friday's vigil are asked to bring their own flashlight or LED candle and a foldable chair if they wish to sit.