Note: A spokesman for Mayor LaToya Cantrell's office says that Vincenzo Pasquantonio, director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Rights and Equity, has been invited to speak at this evening's event, but the mayor's office is not sponsoring the event, contrary to what organizers told Gambit. The story has been amended.
With a hurricane watch issued for parts of south Louisiana, several New Orleans events aimed at protesting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its detention centers — originally scheduled for Friday, July 12 — have been rescheduled for Friday, July 19.
First, the Southern Belles for Social Justice are planning a protest at the New Orleans ICE Field Office (1250 Poydras St.) from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
According to the event’s Facebook page, the purpose of the protest is to “shame ICE employees,” reminding attendees that “it is critical that during this action we do not disrupt asylum seekers entering the building.”
Then advocates will reconvene for an event dubbed Eat Pizza! Cry! Defund ICE, at Red Truck Clubhouse (740 N. Rampart St.) to make signs and organize before heading to the last event of the day, a candlelight vigil for “those lost in migration and detention throughout history.”
A funeral procession through the French Quarter will begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude back at the ICE office for the vigil — organized by Lights for Liberty. Drums, parading bands and bells are encouraged, as well as costumes.
Speakers and performers are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The vigil will begin at 9 p.m. Real candles are not allowed; organizers ask attendees to bring tea lights or use phone flashlights instead. Lights for Liberty has organized similar vigils across the country, with several scheduled for July 12, and others planned for Covington and Baton Rouge.
Local sponsors for the vigil include City Hall’s Office of Human Rights and Equity, the New Orleans and Metairie chapters of Indivisible, Puentes New Orleans and Bethlehem Lutheran Church, among others.
These events follow reports last month that New Orleans was one of the 10 cities targeted for a large-scale deportation effort by ICE, announced by President Donald Trump but ultimately delayed to work out a deal concerning the U.S.-Mexico border.