Arizona Jews for Justice and AZ Resist host vigil outside of ICE field office

Community members attend A Light Without Borders Vigil on Central Street. (Jake Lewis/DD)

‘A Light Without Borders Vigil’ drew a small crowd outside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Phoenix Field Office on Central Avenue Thursday to hold candles, speak out against ICE and remember the people who live in detention centers across the United States.

Arizona Jews for Justice and AZ Resist hosted the vigil to come together in solidarity with the thousands of families who have been separated at the Mexican border.

“We now see that in this upcoming holiday season, ICE has ripped away families and has not allowed them to spend their holiday season with family members,” said Eddie Chavez, who is the campaign organizer for Arizona Jews for Justice.

Arizona Jews for Justice, a grassroots organization that aims to generate social change, wanted people walking and driving by to become aware of the event. A sign sat against a tree on Central Avenue that read “Needing Help Isn’t A Crime.”

The crowd sang a song asking ICE to “bring back its human side” and think about its morals. It also asked ICE what its officers would do if they had to celebrate their holidays with family members over the phone.

The event welcomed people from all faiths and backgrounds.

“This country was built on the idea that we can be so much more if we unite,” Chavez said.

Chavez said that candles were important to have at the event because light is brighter than darkness. He added that candles portray a message of solidarity.

“In these dark times, we have to be the light,” Chavez said.

Chavez said he cares about the issue because he was held in a detention center in Yuma with his mother as a toddler. Chavez is now a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

“I’m a little bit privileged in the fact that I was able to apply for DACA,” Chavez said. “There’s so many families that don’t have the possibility to stand here right now with their loved ones.”

Arizona Jews for Justice Intern Izabelle Aguirre had various reasons she wanted to attend the vigil.

“We are here fighting for families to be together and united again,” Aguirre said.

The vigil took place in front of the ICE Phoenix Field Office because that is where people taken by ICE are processed before they are sent to detention centers.

“We need to hold ICE accountable, we are watching you and we are not OK with this,” Chavez said.

The vigil also included a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City that occurred Tuesday.

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