07.11.18

The Accidental Activist

Posted in Monthly at 1:50 pm by Pasha

By Pasha Krise

I clicked one button, filled out a form and BOOM, I was an activist.

Like many mothers, and humans, in America today, I was pushed into activism. It was not because I had a profound calling or because I enjoy politics. Quite the contrary; politics have always left me dry and bitter and hoping that my duty starts and ends at the voting booth.

Since 2016, there has been a shift in what I can stomach happening in our elected government. So much of it is intolerable, blatantly racist, sexist and misogynistic. It is all so pressingly hateful and harmful to the thread of America, the founding nature of our county and damaging to all who call this place home.

With small signs and my three boys in tow, I have quietly marched for lives and equality since Trump has taken office. It has been one blow after another to our democracy. This latest one left me shell-shocked.

As soon as I found out about the humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border (Pres. Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” Policy resulting with thousands of immigrant children being lost in the welfare system all over America after being caged and torn from their families), I shared the numbers and information on Instagram hoping to raise awareness. I called Congress until my phone died. I donated as much as I could afford to organizations on the front lines. I contemplated packing my kids in the car to head for the border. I cried.

I know a lot of other mother’s who did the same exact things.

I was sure that one of the passionate activists in Wilmington, NC would have already planned a “Families Belong Together” rally. When I found that it was just a week away and there was not one planned, I felt compelled to make it happen, to speak to our human neighbors in protest of awfulness and inhumane treatment.

I clicked that “create rally” link because every fiber of my being tells me that I have fight what is happening in our country. Only with the help of the New Hanover County NAACP did we pull off a rally in less than a week, with passionate speakers, protesters and marchers, children and elderly people. We came together to fight what we all know is history on repeat; massive incarceration without due process and children torn from parents without notice or cause.

Presenting to the crowd of hundreds made me nervous. I told my personal anecdote of how I would throw my children out of a burning building to save them, just as Central American parents are metaphorically doing now. My words made a plea to anyone listening, “we need to catch these families, these children. We cannot let them hit the ground.”

The speakers who followed me spoke with passion and moral obligation, knowledge and experience. I did television news interviews and was (cringingly) on the 6 pm, 11 pm and 8 am newscasts. In the buzz, in the movement and flurry of connected reasoning and obligation to show up for these families, the sorrow of what is still happening at the border daily was invasive.

Throughout the day the only real thing I could think about was the families. As my baby slept on my chest and my young boys climbed trees, I felt guilty for the freedom that we have, simply because as luck would have it, we were born in America. The baby cried, I fed him. I struggled to change his diaper. And I thought about babies crowded in Tender Shelters, where a mama’s gentle touch and soothing comfort means these necessities can be anything but tender. My tears fell for the boys and girls stuck in a cage inside when they should be playing with sticks and having summertime. I felt so sad for what is continuing now. Even as I write this a toddler is crying for his mama and is met with isolation.

I can’t give up. These families need me. They need ALL of us.

What next? The overarching message is get out there and vote. Voting is the only way to choose elected leaders who will reform immigration and make moral decisions. November is just about here. We can make the change this country needs.

Until then, let’s continue to donate, protest, rally and talk about the atrocities perpetrated by a President and his Administration that are heartless, soulless and, many times, illegal. Load a Language app on your phone and learn Spanish. Talk to Central American refugees, think of big ideas to reunite families. If you know someone who works in one of the detention facilities or for ICE, empower them to make moral decisions.

I was moved to become an activist, to fight for what is the right thing. The risk is far too great of a burden. In the year 2018, we are the fighters on the front line. Taking out the regime one by one with the mighty power of our voices and our votes will mean restoration to a system that they find necessary to break down.

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