Lights for Liberty

Lights for Liberty:  A Worldwide Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps,
Friday, July 12th at 7:00pm at Allendale United Methodist Church 3803 Haines Road N.  Please contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested in riding together from the church.

Friday’s Vigil at Allendale UMC to End Immigrant Detention sounds powerfully moving, plus there will be break-out action/information groups afterward for those who want to stay. This is a national/international event to compel response & action.

Several people from LUCC attended a coalition building meeting this week to address this issue.  These are the notes from that meeting:  

St. Petersburg Coalition to End Immigrant Detention

Notes from Kickoff Meeting at Allendale UMC

July 9, 2019

A kickoff meeting for the St. Petersburg Coalition to End Immigrant Detention was held on July 9, 2019 at 6 PM at Allendale United Methodist Church.  The official name will be discussed at our next meeting. Vickie Dunn (lead organizer for Indivisible FL-13 & Allendale Church Council Chair) facilitated the meeting.

Attending:  ACLU -Wendy Snyder; Safety Harbor Indivisible – Charrie Moscardini, Kevin McCullough, Barbara Nelson, Amy Bryant, Temple Beth-El – Joshua Bean, Rabbi Michael Torop; Network Of Spiritual Progressives – Rev. Fred (last name?); For Our Future – Nick Arent; Clearwater United Universalists – Rev. Patrice Curtis; The Weekly Challenger – Jake-ann Jones; Lakewood United Church of Christ – Rev. Sue Sherwood (retired,) Patti Cooksey; Indivisible FL-13 – Meryl Blackman, Cynthia Lippert, Kate Pravera, Vickie Dunn


Given the limited time of the meeting, the following goals were identified, but not discussed in detail or prioritized. The objective was to have a common reference point from the onset.

  • To end family separation
  • To reunite families
  • Short-term: Improve conditions for children and identify appropriate places they can go
  • Return children to sponsors
  • Eliminate for profit facilities
  • Advocate for people to sponsor a child


The following strategies were identified for consideration, and there was some discussion of planning an action for July 19, when there will be a hearing on the Flores Agreement. However, it was decided that we should wait until the hearings are held, and a ruling is made.

  • Research corporations that benefit from immigrant detention, expose them to the public and put pressure on them
  • Follow laws regarding asylum (It is still legal and people should be allowed to enter U.S. for this purpose.
  • Secure an international observer
  • Pressure congress to exercise oversight, i.e. hold hearings
  • Increase public awareness by making more “noise”
  • Network and collaborate on the national level to leverage greatest impact


Numerous tactics were raised for future consideration. The following list represents what was captured on the white board.

  • Promote and facilitate trips to Homestead
  • Organize boycotts to pressure complicit corporations 
  • Network in Dunedin (incomplete information here)
  • Organize a demonstration in front of Rubio and Scott’s offices in Tampa
  • Participate with others in the weekly ongoing presence in front of senators offices (Rubio, Scott)
  • Letter to senators
  • Focus on statewide exposure and education
  • Consider pressuring state child welfare agency
  • Set up a series of in person meetings with elected officials during the month of August. Utilize the weight of business, civic and religious leaders to gain access (Based on HIAS model & possibly in coalition with HIAS)

Next Steps

  • Next meeting will be held at Allendale on Tuesday, July 23 at 6 PM, but we will  plan to rotate with meetings in north county.
  • Cynthia Lippert will draft a mission statement for discussion on July 23.

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