Hundreds of Mainers turned out for Lights for Liberty vigils around the state, including this one in Bar Harbor,
organized by Indivisible MDI.
More than a dozen groups around Maine took part in the Lights for Liberty vigil on July 12, a national protest of Trump’s inhumane immigration policies and his internment camps for immigrant families. Hundreds turned out in 11 towns around the state, joining thousands of others in more than 700 cities around the U.S. See the image galleries below from the Maine vigils, volunteer at one of Maine’s immigrant advocacy organizations, and tell your members of Congress to take action.
UPDATED JULY 13: A number of groups in Maine organized sister rallies for the July 12 protest, Lights for Liberty: A Nationwide Vigil to End Human Detention Camps. The vigils were held in cities and towns around the country and at a number of internment camps to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants who entered the U.S. at the southern border. We are also urging Mainers to call on Maine’s members of Congress to take action to protect immigrant families, most of whom have fled violence and war in their home countries to seek asylum in the U.S. Photo galleries from some of the Maine vigils are included below. We’ve also compiled a list of organizations that provide critical support to immigrants in Maine and are in need of volunteers and donations. Contact them directly to find out how you can support their efforts and welcome new Mainers. This is by no means a complete list; we wanted to highlight those organizations whose primary focus is on providing assistance to new Mainers and Maine’s immigrant communities. If you know of a state group we should include, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For perspective on why these protests and our actions are needed, we urge you to read Journal from the Southern Border, an account of the experiences of a member of our admin team who spent several weeks in June volunteering in El Paso, Texas, at Annunciation House, one of the organizations running respite shelters for people seeking entry and asylum at the southern border. The goal of Annunciation House and similar organizations is to provide sanctuary and hospitality to refugees and the migrant poor, and to help them get to their loved ones in the United States. These reports offer an up-close view of this humanitarian crisis and the wonderful organizations working to address it.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS IN MAINE
- Capital Area New Mainers Project is a cross-cultural organization that welcomes immigrants and works to build a thriving, integrated community in central Maine. Volunteers work on Family Mentor Teams, tutor, drive, and help coordinate events. To volunteer or donate, email email@example.com, call 207-370-5246 or visit https://www.newmainersproject.org/.
- Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center serves as a hub of collaboration that strengthens the immigrant community through language acquisition, economic integration and civic engagement. To volunteer or donate, visit https://www.welcomeimmigrant.org.
- Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition in Portland is a coalition of a number of organizations that focuses on improving the legal, social and economic conditions experienced by Maine’s immigrants through advocacy, information sharing and collaboration both through and among our member organizations. To volunteer or donate, call 207-517-3404 or visit https://www.maineimmigrantrights.org.
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, based in Portland and Lewiston, provides legal information to immigrants in Maine. They need volunteers who speak English and other languages, especially Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, French, Lingala, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi. They also need volunteer attorneys with experience in immigration law. To volunteer or donate, call 207-780-1593 or visit https://ilapmaine.org/.
- Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston provides case management, English language education and citizenship classes, parenting courses, a youth leadership program and more to empower immigrant and refugee youth and their families. To volunteer or donate, call 207-784-2703, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://meirs.org/.
- Immigrant Resource Center of Maine in Lewiston offers educational services, workshops, training, system advocacy, and other services to refugees, asylum seekers, and others. To volunteer or donate, call (207) 753 -0061, email email@example.com, or visit https://www.ircofmaine.org/.
- Hope Acts in Portland provides housing for asylum seekers, as well as English language acquisition and practice, legal support, work authorization, and making mutually beneficial social connections with Americans and fellow immigrants in Maine. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-274-6005. To donate, visit https://hopeacts.org/.
- Mano en Mano in Milbridge and Portland offers assistance with securing housing, accessing medical care and social support services, and education and offers leadership programs and scholarships. To volunteer or donate, call (207) 546-3006, email email@example.com or visit https://www.manomaine.org/.
- Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrantion Services in Portland and Lewiston is Maine’s only refugee resettlement program, providing cultural orientation and referrals to case management and ongoing support. To volunteer or donate, visit https://www.ccmaine.org/refugee-immigration-services.
EVENTS HELD IN MAINE JULY 12
AUGUSTA: 8:30 pm in front of the Maine State House at the corners of Capitol and State Streets. Organized by Capital Area Indivisible, Suit Up Maine, Central Mainers for Change, Maine Women’s Lobby, and Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. More info HERE.
BANGOR: 8:30 pm at Bangor City Hall, 73 Harlow Street. More info HERE.
BATH: 9 pm at Bath City Hall, 55 Front Street. Organized by Indivisible Sagadahoc.
PORTLAND: 8 pm at Congress Square, Portland. Organized by Mainers for Accountable Leadership. More info HERE. There is also a second sister vigil planned at Monument Square in Portland at 7:30 pm. More info HERE. Be sure to check back as these two events may be combined into one.
ROCKLAND: 8:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 345 Broadway. More info HERE.
SANFORD: 8 pm in Central Park, 918 Main Street. More info HERE.
SKOWHEGAN: 7 pm on the MCS Bridge in Skowhegan. More info HERE.
WATERVILLE: 4 pm on at the corner of 110 Main Street and Temple Street. Organized by Central Mainers for Change as part of Stand on Every Corner, a national organization that promotes weekly, peaceful, neighborhood protests for justice, democracy, and peace. More info HERE and on FACEBOOK.