Vermonters join nationwide protest of conditions at the border

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Protesters gathered in Montpelier Friday ahead of planned roundups of undocumented immigrants this weekend across the country.

Our Cat Viglienzoni was at the rally where people told her they're trying to send a message that what's happening at the southern border-- and in Vermont-- is unacceptable.

At the corner of Main and State streets, dozens of protesters rallied, marching through crosswalks and standing on corners singing in solidarity with families at the border.

One of the organizers, Fearn Lickfield, says their demonstration is part of a larger movement around the country to speak out.

"We're speaking up for people who need to have their voices and their lives respected and protected," Lickfield said.

She says the situation at the southern border is making headlines but she feels many Vermonters don't realize that ICE is active here in Vermont, too.

"I hope that they will understand that this is an issue that affects everybody," Lickfield said. "And just watching it on their TV is no longer enough."

While that was happening outdoors, inside Bear Pond Books-- a quieter form of action.

"It's something that caught our hearts," said Samantha Kolber of Bear Pond Books.

The business and many of its customers put their money where their mouth is; 10 percent of the proceeds from the day's sales are going to RAICES, an organization that provides legal aid and other assistance to refugees.

"They're coming in directly to support the cause. Some people have ordered books that they were putting off buying," Kolber said.

While the bookstore has hosted fundraising events in the past, this is the first time they have felt so strongly that they have dedicated a portion of an entire day's sales to a cause.

"As we've seen, they really need all the help they can get," Kolber said.

There is another rally scheduled to start in Montpelier on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Statehouse lawn.

That's one of several "Lights for Liberty" events around Vermont Friday evening including Brattleboro, Bennington, Burlington, Essex Junction, Middlebury, Putney, Richmond, Rutland, St. Johnsbury and Stowe.

In our region of New Hampshire, Hanover, North Conway and Keene are also holding rallies.

And in New York's North Country, Saranac Lake is holding one.

Click here for details on all the events in our region and across the country.