Mayor Ed Murray is calling on Seattle residents to light candles and cellphone screens outside their homes on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
In response to President Trump’s recent executive orders, Mayor Ed Murray is asking Seattle residents to light candles and cellphone screens outside their homes Wednesday night to show support for the city’s immigrants and refugees.
The mayor says he and staffers came up with the idea over the weekend after hearing from many people who want to combat the president’s actions and from many frightened immigrants and refugees. They’re calling for people to step outside at 7 p.m.
“We have an ocean of people asking us what they can do,” Murray said in an interview Monday. “Lighting a light, by itself, is not enough. We need to build more capacity to fight this administration. But whether it’s protesting or lighting a candle, these actions send the message that, ‘We’re here and you need to deal with us.’ ”
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Trump has issued orders to build a wall along the Mexico border, hire thousands more deportation officers, punish so-called sanctuary cities and temporarily bar immigrants from seven Muslim countries and refugees from entering the country.
Murray said, “I think we’re looking at the first stages of an authoritarian government.”
Some people in Seattle would like to march in the streets but can’t because they’re physically unable or because they need to stay home with children, the mayor said.
Murray hopes some of those people will be able to participate Wednesday, he said.
“We thought it would be a very good thing for people to step out on their front porch or in front of their apartment building and light up a cellphone or a candle,” he said.
Murray said he wants to demonstrate to immigrant students in Seattle that their neighbors care about them. “We’re hearing from immigrants who are afraid — and not just from people who are undocumented,” he said. “There’s chaos and confusion.”
The mayor said he was inspired by his memories of a candlelit walk held in Seattle in 1998 after gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepherd was tortured and killed.
Murray said he’s not aware of any other mayors asking residents to light up their cities.