In tandem with national and statewide protests, Bozeman will hold a candlelight vigil on Friday to bring awareness to conditions at U.S. immigration detention centers.

Called Lights for Liberty Vigil, Bozeman’s organizers include PLFAG and the Montana Human Rights Network. Leaders said separating families at the U.S. and Mexico border is a moral outrage, and the event is meant to encourage political action.

“Folks are horrified, sad and angry all at once,” said Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, which is helping to coordinate events around the state. “We can’t just sit at home, trying not to look at the image of another child drowned from struggling to reach safety. Montana matters, our senators control the purse strings keeping these children in detention camps. Family to family, we encourage others to gather, write and call our senators now.”

Bozeman is one of seven cities across Montana participating in the vigil, which is part of a national protest day. Main events will take happen in El Paso, San Diego, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Miami, according to a news release. Besides Bozeman, vigils in Montana are planned for Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Thompson Falls.

“Our current government policies for the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers are inhumane and often illegal,” said Helena Lovick, co-organizer for the Great Falls Community Action Team. “We are gathering to shine a light on these human rights abuses, protest the continued family separations, and call for both transparency and accountability about conditions at the border camps.”

The vigil will start at 7 p.m., at the Gallatin County Courthouse on Friday.

Abby Lynes can be reached at or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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