Feelings of shock and helplessness led Sara Ann Phillips to plan Victoria’s Lights for Liberty Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.
The event, planned for Friday, July 12, is part of a worldwide silent vigil for the migrants being held in U.S. detention centres.
She heard about the vigils by Lights for Liberty — a coalition dedicated to supporting human rights and democracy — and began searching for the closest event to attend but couldn’t find anything.
Phillips assumed she was looking in the wrong places until she realized no one had planned a vigil in Victoria. So, she started a Facebook event on Monday at midnight and began the process of getting the Victoria vigil registered on the Liberty for Lights website in time for July 12.
Phillips’ brother, Brendan Phillips, has been lending a hand. She contacted him on Tuesday and they’ve been working hard to organize the entire event in just a few days.
“This is about regular citizens around the world telling their governments that it’s time to take a stand against the inhumane treatment [in the U.S.],” notes Brendan.
Phillips, a registered psychiatric nurse who is currently on maternity leave, isn’t new to activism but she had never planned an event like this.
“The process has been empowering,” she says. It hasn’t been without challenges, but everyone has been helping out — even her children.
Phillips initially expected about three people to attend, but as of Thursday afternoon, 30 people had indicated they’d attend and 84 had marked that they were interested.
Brendan hopes the event will raise awareness and spark action.
“When there’s governments in the world that are dehumanizing groups of people, it’s important to take a stand,” he says.
He also hopes to enlighten people when it comes to the scope of the issue.
The vigil is also meant to get the attention of governments around the world, says Phillips.
“This is an opportunity for Canadians to stand up and speak out about the atrocities at the U.S. [and] Mexico border,” she says. “Never again is right now.”
At 8:30 p.m., attendees will meet in front of the B.C Legislature building and light their candles at 9 p.m. with the rest of the world. So far, there are eight other vigils scheduled across Canada.