Everyone in our city is invited to peacefully join as we line both sides of Dodge Street from Memorial Park to 90th Street in Omaha at dusk from 5:30-6:30 pm on Presidents Day, Monday, February 20. Inspired by the powerful symbolism of welcoming,refuge, and hope that is associated with the Statue of Liberty’s torch, we will be holding candles to create a corridor of light affirming that refugees and immigrants are welcome, valued, and respected in our community and country. Participants are asked to take pics and videos at the event and post them to social media using #LightTheWay and tag their elected officials so they can see the light. We also will have pre-event educational activities from 4:30-5:30 pm at UNO’s Community Engagement Center to connect people with information about the global refugee crisis, how the issued executive order (even if it is halted for now) and subsequent actions taken by the Federal government impact refugees and immigrants, and opportunities for people to get involved with and to support local organizations that serve refugees and immigrants. People who cannot make it to #LightTheWay event are invited to organize their own LightTheWay gatherings in their neighborhoods and/or turn on their porch/exterior home lights in solidarity with the event at that time. An online toolkit is available for those in other communities who would like to organize #LightTheWay events at dusk on Presidents Day.
Bring community members together to raise awareness about and show support for refugees and immigrants in our community and country.
What We Want To Achieve From This Event/Call To Action
- Send a powerful message through standing together with light that refugees and immigrants are welcome, valued, and respected in our community and country and that we reject any rhetoric, policies and practices that undermine this.
- Raise awareness about and connect people with credible information about the global refugee crisis, local refugee resettlement and immigrant support efforts, and how the executive order impacts the crisis, our country, and these local efforts.
- Increase the levels of support and involvement with local organizations that provide refugee resettlement and immigrant support efforts.
- Create a positive, family-friendly, peaceful event that helps people to feel more welcome, empowered, and connected with our community, country, and world.
Who Is Organizing This?
This is a grassroots, community event that came out of an impromptu meeting of community groups, faith communities, volunteers, and non-profit organizations convened on January 27 by Lutheran Family Services Refugee Resettlement staff to respond to the executive order halting the refugee program and banning those from seven Muslim majority countries.
How You Can Be Involved In Addition to Joining Us On Dodge
Below are a number of ways that you, your friends, family and those in your networks can get involved to #LightTheWay for Refugees and Immigrants at dusk this Presidents Day and well beyond.
Help Spread the Word
Here’s the link to the #LightTheWay for Refugees and Immigrants Facebook Event Page- please share and indicate if you will attendg. Attached is the logo with which we are asking people to replace their profile pics through at least Presidents Day. Please consider sharing it and encouraging others to do so as well. Here is a flyer that can be posted about the event. Please consider printing and circulating it.
Groups In Omaha Can Adopt Blocks at the Event:
To help us ease traffic congestion, more evenly distribute people in the Light The Way area, and invite greater ownership by community groups in the event, we are asking community groups to adopt blocks at the event. Here is the form that explains what we are asking groups to do by adopting blocks at #LightTheWay. If a group is interested, please have them complete and return the form to us at the email address listed by no later than Friday, February 17. As soon as we have that completed form, we will send via email info about assigned blocks along with other helpful and important details for the event for groups to share with their members.
Encourage Your Friends and Family Outside Omaha to #LightTheWay
Also, for those outside Omaha, we’ve created a toolkit that contains docs describing what we are doing here that can be tweaked or used as roadmaps for others wanting to organize #LightTheWay events in their cities and neighborhoods. Here’s a doc that explains how to get started. So far, we have people organizing #LightTheWay events in Portland, Oregon; Aspen, Colorado; San Diego, California; and several others cities in Nebraska: Lincoln, Kearney, and Grand Island. We’d love to have people across Nebraska and the country join us to #LightTheWay on Presidents Day. Please share this with those in your networks outside Omaha to help us spread the word.