HARRISONBURG — When Amanda Dameron saw pictures of children living in poor conditions at immigration detention centers, she said she knew something needed to be done.
The 23-year-old Harrisonburg woman said she needed to make sure her voice was heard.
“It’s 100% heartbreaking,” said Dameron, wearing a shirt reading, “Immigrants Make America Great.”
On Friday, Dameron joined roughly 75 other Shenandoah Valley residents to participate in a Lights for Liberty vigil on Court Square, in Harrisonburg.
Organizers say the vigil, which was among several dozen across the United States, is aimed to condemn immigrant deaths at the border, the mass incarceration and conditions at children detention centers and the collaboration of local law enforcement with U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement.
The local vigil was organized by FUEGO (Friends United for Equity and Grassroots Organizing) Coalition and Virginia Organizing.
This demonstration comes at a time when ICE is set to begin national immigration raids Sunday targeting those with deportation orders, according to Associated Press reports.
A moment of silence was held for those who died trying to cross the border and for those in ICE custody.
Kenia Lopez, a member of Virginia Organizing, spoke at the vigil.
“Today, I stand before you with a broken heart,” she said. “We are demanding ICE be held accountable.”
Boris Ozuna, a FUEGO member, called on Harrisonburg-area residents to demand local businesses stop working with ICE.
The U.S General Services Administration, which oversees federal property, plans to build a $2.2 million Homeland Security facility, in Harrisonburg.
The building, which will be located at 282 Neff Ave., will replace an existing facility at 263 Neff Ave. It will continue to house ICE’s enforcement and removal operations and Homeland Security Investigations, according to previous Daily News-Record reports.
The new building will expand office space, but will still only have three temporary holding cells.
“Stop profiting from human suffering,” Ozuna said. “Our job is to tell them no … not in our community.”