It’s been one year since Lucio Perez, a Springfield resident, entered sanctuary at an Amherst Church.
Lucio’s case has garnered tremendous public support...and Saturday, hundreds of people gathered at the First Congregational Church in Amherst to demonstrate their solidarity with Lucio.
One year ago, on October 18th, Lucio Perez, a Guatemalan immigrant, made the decision to take sanctuary inside the First Congregational Church in Amherst to avoid deportation.
“Being separated from your family the way I would describe it, is as if they tear something out of your heart,” Lucio told 22News. “And that’s why I always say that we need to keep on fighting because soon we will achieve victory.”
Hundreds of people gathered at First Church Amherst Saturday night to support Lucio in his fight to keep his family together.
“There’s been an amazing community that has created, that has grown up and come together to support Lucio and his family, and to support the cause of immigration justice,” said Reverend Vicki Kemper. “And Today was an opportunity to say to all of them together in one place, ‘Thank you, we couldn’t do this without you.”
Supporter Manual Pintado told 22News, “People migrate to this country because they want a better life and what Lucio has done is giving us all a little bit of what it takes to have courage, but also to be away from your family it takes a lot of discipline and I’m proud to call him my hermano [brother].”
Another supporter, a Holand immigrant, told 22News she doesn’t agree with the current climate of immigration policy, which is why she said it’s important to support Lucio and his family.
“I had to do a lot of paper work but I had no problem because I’m white,” said Pelham immigrant Annique Poomsa. “You know, I think it’s terrible that people get discriminated because of the color of their skin.
Following the gathering, community members joined Lucio and his family in blessing the church as a sanctuary, and calling for freedom for Lucio and justice for all immigrants living in the U.S.
Reverend Kemper told 22News, they will continue to stand with Lucio until the day he can go home to be with his family.