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People gather at the Ogden Municipal building in protest of the U.S. border camps. Photo credit: Sharon Valverde Vargas

According to USA Today, over 700 cities participated in the Lights for Liberty protest on July 12; Ogden was one of those cities. The community gathered to express their thoughts and feelings toward what is currently happening at the U.S. border camps.

Bobbie Kawacki, an attendee from Ogden, recited her poem “Silent Screams.”

“Reality was their danger zone. Trump’s shameful secret must be kept, so silently the children wept,” Kawacki read. “Held captive by the awful truth, that robbed their innocence and their youth. Escaping to a world of dreams, blocking out the silent screams.”

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People gather at the Ogden Municipal building in protest of the U.S. border camps. Photo credit: Sharon Valverde Vargas

The protest, held in front of the Ogden Municipal Building, opened with Arlene Szalay singing “If not now” by Carrie Newcomer. Protesters joined, singing along. The song brought hope when Szalay sang “if not now, tell me when.”

Angela Urrea hosted the protest. She argued that the correct way to describe the U.S. border camps is to call them “concentration camps.” She described Donald Trump and his administration’s messaging about the camps as propaganda.

Margaret Kluthe, a retired pediatrician, discussed the worry of emotional trauma, physical dangers like physical and sexual abuse, neglect and death.

“We need to keep screaming until this ends,” Kluthe said.

Luis Lopez, an Ogden city council member, is a Mexican immigrant. He said he has benefited from the blessings of this country.

“I know we are here preaching to the choir. We are all here for the same thing. We are all here to unite (against) an atrocity,” Lopez said while holding back tears.

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People gather at the Ogden Municipal building in protest of the U.S. border camps. Photo credit: Sharon Valverde Vargas

Malik Dayo, a community activist, said the border camps are dehumanizing. He spoke about a report he heard of sexual exploitation.

According to NBC News, there is currently an investigation after a 15-year-girl from Honduras accused a border patrol agent of groping her during a routine-pat down. The girl said the agent laughed and was speaking to other officers as they watched.

Toward the end of the protest, Urrea had attendees point their candles or phone flashlights to the south.

“We are letting these children know that they are not forgotten. They are welcome in the United States, and we are here to tell them the beacon of hope and freedom is shining for you,” Urrea said.

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