Heritage Plaza will light up Friday night in support of ending detention camps for refugees.
Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps is happening at more than 75 locations across the nation, according to a written statement from the Democratic Women of East Texas.
Mary Lou Tevebaugh, co-founder of Democratic Women of East Texas, said such events are needed in Longview and across the nation because people are concerned about the humanitarian crisis at the border.
“This is a coalition of people that truly believe we live in a great country,” she said. “It was founded on certain rights, and we have to stand up and make sure those rights are given to everyone.”
Longview’s vigil, hosted by the Democratic Women of East Texas, is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. at Heritage Plaza, at Methvin and Green streets in downtown Longview.
Activists will speak about the detention camps. At 9 p.m., participants will light their candles to “bring light to the darkness of the Trump administration’s horrific policies,” according to the statement.
Tevebaugh said other plans include music, food trucks and information booths.
East Texas Justice for Neighbors will be there to collect donations for refugees.
Items needed are diapers, shampoo, conditioner, soap, hand sanitizer, wipes, Clorox wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, Tylenol, Aleve, ibuprofen, baby Tylenol, tennis shoes, shoelaces and socks.
“You can’t get supplies into the actual camps and detention centers,” she said. “The government won’t allow that because they say they don’t have enough manpower to check it all.”
The supplies, instead, go to outside organizations such as Catholic Charities and respite centers, Tevebaugh said. As people come out of the shelters, many have not had a shower for days or a hot meal. The centers help those people with food, clothing, showers and nurses, she said.
Centers also are located on the Mexico side of the border with nuns and volunteers providing the same services, Tevebaugh said.
For the vigil, Tevebaugh said she is anticipating a good turnout. Facebook reception of the event has been positive so far, she said.
“If we get 100 people, I’m excited,” she said. “If we get 10 people, it’s 10 people that care. Whatever the turnout, we’re ready to stand up for what’s right.”
Tevebaugh also said she wants to catch the eye of local lawmakers.
“What I really hope is we get the attention of our elected leaders to tell them something needs to get done,” she said. “That’s both parties — it’s not just Republicans or Democrats; we have to work together as Americans.”