Hundreds gather in Appleton, Wisc. to protest Trump’s immigrant concentration camps
A young demonstrator at Houdini Plaza in Appleton, Wisc., for the July 12 Lights for Liberty event. | Mary Bogan / Fox Valley Witness: Ending Migrant Child Detention

APPLETON, Wisc.— Houdini Plaza here was one of over 700 sites around the world where rallies against immigrant concentration camps and detention centers for those seeking asylum were held under the banner of “Lights for Liberty” this weekend.

On Friday, July 12, over 300 participants showed and several speakers shared their thoughts. The speeches were heartbreaking, uplifting, and thoughtful all at the same time. Many were spontaneous, without no announcement of a speaker’s name.

Local activist Norys Pina read a list of names of those that have died in the detention camps so far. She proclaimed, “They all died looking for a better life; aren’t we all looking for a better life?”

Another speaker said, “I am terrified that we will move from internment camps to outright murder.”

One speaker proclaimed we can defeat this, saying, “Let the light of your love brighten the darkness of the cage we find ourselves trapped inside.”

This prompted the crowd to chant, “Close the Camps! Close the Camps!”

“Children do not need to be locked in cages, and adults do not need to be locked up and forced to sleep on concrete,” proclaimed Wisconsin State Rep. Amanda Stuck. “Remember November 2020!”

“It matters who gets elected, and elections matter,” Stuck continued. “When I looked at U.S. Rep. [Mike] Gallagher’s website, all he was talking about is how much he enjoys eating ice cream for breakfast. It’s important that we vote them out.”

Demonstrators at Appleton’s Houdini Plaza, July 12. | David Fields / PW

The crowd chanted, “Vote them out! Vote them out!”

Another speaker passionately spoke of what these concentration camps mean for our nation: “These camps are our country’s legacy, and this is a part of white supremacy. People of color have known this type of treatment. This is a really cool gathering, but it means nothing if you don’t get out to vote.”

James Haas, a member of the Jewish community, expressed his distress, saying: “We say one law for the alien and the local man, not separate laws. We say this is not for moral reasons, because in a system where injustice is tolerated, no one is safe.”

Sara MacDonald of the Appleton ACLU stated: “The detention centers are overcrowded and inhumane—in violation of guidelines that the Trump administration is trying to get dismantled. ICE claims they don’t have the resources to give food, bedding, medicine, or clean quarters. The ACLU is working to guarantee justice and harmony.”

The rally was peaceful, without incident.


David Fields
David Fields

David Fields worked as an organizer for AFSCME in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Nebraska. He currently lives in Menasha, Wisconsin, and is an activist in Fox Valley. He enjoys photography and song writing.