February 25, 2020
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Deep Concern and Compassion

Published July 31, 2019

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This is in reference to the July 4 Courier article “Bringing National News to Local Communities,” announcing the Lights for Liberty Vigil organized by State Representative Christine Palm (D-36) at the Chester Meeting House on July 12 and held in concert with 500 others nationwide.

For those attending, the event marked deep concern and compassion for our national immigration crisis, including deplorable and vindictive conditions under which 81,000 asylees are being held in detention, the cruel separation of 3,000 children from their parents, the enactment of a country-wide reign of terror on undocumented persons in our cities and towns, and the complete failure of our leaders to pass a comprehensive immigration bill.

As Rep. Palm said at the vigil, “silence has always meant complicity, and we choose not to be silent.”

The vigil in Chester was goose-bump worthy with its local immigrant speakers, great music, a reading of the entire Bill of Rights, and at the end, a shared, candle-lit silence to mark our hopes for change and more humane policies. We recognized that all of us, except Indians and African Americans, are the descendants of willing, tired, and sometimes war-weary refugees who came to this country from elsewhere. The shameful racism driving the current crisis only makes a mockery of this noble legacy.

I thank Rep. Palm for her leadership on the Judiciary Committee, which oversees issues of immigration affecting Connecticut; for her political courage in organizing this important local event; and for her willingness to speak up and become visible in this critical fight for America’s best self.

Marta Daniels