Lexington joins cities across U.S. for "Lights for Liberty" rally

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Rallies were held across the country Friday protesting immigration detention centers on the southern border.

Dubbed "Lights for Liberty," the rallies were planned to take place in more than 700 U.S. cities, including Lexington.

"I do think it's a beautiful thing to be having this in Lexington," said one organizer, Milton Noe Meza De Los Santos. "Lexington is considered one of the more progressive cities here in Kentucky and so it is really nice to know there are many different groups advocating for the same thing."

That thing: basic human rights for all people, including immigrants.

"The fact that we are even having this vigil should speak loudly to what kind of country we have become. I don't think that's what the United States of America is supposed to be," Milton Noe Meza De Los Santos said.

"Actually, I was writing to Senator McConnell and I was basically saying there's no place for concentration camps in the United States and that I want children out of cages," Robin Schalda said.

Bruce Gordon is a Vietnam veteran who attended the rally with a sign that read "Ice Get Out."

"I wanted to show people that veterans also are horrified by what's going on," Gordon said. "I made up these signs some time ago, figuring there would be a time I could use them."

The vigils come ahead of planned immigration raids this weekend in several major cities targeting thousands of people who already have deportation orders.

"It always hits home for me because I know my parents, they are immigrants, and they sacrificed a lot for me to be here. For me to graduate high school, to be in college, and to me, that's what I always hope for. I'm always in support of them because I know they crossed so their kids could have the same opportunities that I have," said Flor Mucino.

By sharing their stories, they're shedding light on an issue some people don't fully understand. They're calling for compassion.

"You don't have to identify as Latinx and be a part of the community, Mucino said. "Being in support here and standing here as an ally with these individuals means a lot to the community because it lets them know they aren't alone."

Hygiene items were collected at the event to be donated to Kentucky Refugee Ministries.