More than 100 people gathered Friday night in the Crystal Lake Target parking lot on Route 14 to peacefully protest the treatment of immigrants at the Mexican border.
The activists join thousands across the country participating in “Lights for Liberty,” a nationwide vigil calling for an end to detention camps. USA Today reported that more than 700 events were planned across the country.
About 400 people attended a separate vigil Friday night outside the McHenry County Jail, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock. Attendees rallied outside the jail along Route 47 between Ware Road and Russel Court.
The Crystal Lake effort was organized by Indivisible Northwest Illinois, a group dedicated to empowering progressive constituents in Illinois’ 6th, 8th and 14th Congressional Districts.
Patrick Watson, Democratic state central committeeman for the 6th District who was one of the speakers at the vigil, said it is up to concerned residents to speak up if they see something that doesn’t look right.
“It will take all of us to stand up and say, ‘No, we must protect our immigrant communities,’ ” Watson said.
Other speakers at the Crystal Lake vigil included local immigration attorney Amanda Garcia, defense attorney George Kililis and Pam Shearman, program director of jail visitation for detained immigrants at the McHenry County Jail.
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, attended the vigil later in the evening after coming from a similar event in Glen Ellyn.
He said several other vigils were taking place the 6th Congressional District, including events in Elgin, Downers Grove and Naperville.
“We are at a moment of crisis right now because we have people in the White House who view the realization of Martin Luther King’s dream as a nightmare,” Casten said. “White men of low character get really troubled when people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.”
Protesters also gathered near the intersection of Route 14 and Federal Drive to hold up signs in protest of the treatment of immigrants.