It has been just over two weeks since I joined other Americans, Colombians and people from around the world as part of the Resisterhood, Women’s Sister March, in Medellin Colombia, but it feels like much longer. In just one short week, Americans Resisting Overseas, wrote letters of support to local mosques, took action against the Muslim ban, and called to protest Steve Bannon´s potential appointment to the Security Council. It has been gratifying to see that the many actions people from the USA and around the world have been tirelessly doing are being heard by our decision-makers, but I think we can all agree, it has also been a long two weeks… and, it is just the beginning.
So today I decided to get out the 100 post-it messages that our march participants shared with us. They gave me the reminder I needed that what is going on right now, this fight for our rights, is a marathon not a sprint, or as one message a Colombian left us said, “PAZciencia”- patience in peace.
Reading that message and many others gifted to us by our march participants, I was reminded of how much we, Americans migrants living overseas, have to learn from our host countries. Colombia has just signed a peace deal that will end over fifty years of armed conflict with the guerrilla group, the FARC. For fifty years, and many would argue even longer, Colombians have lived in a civil war fought between multiple armed groups. They understand more than anyone what it is like to have your rights and very existence put at risk day after day. Yet, they persisted and even have managed to find joy in their day-to-day.
When we asked Colombians to participate in the march by giving us words of wisdom on post-its on how we could face the next few years, they gave us messages of hope. Reading them again, I continue to be touched by how another country, even one who has lived such a precarious relationship with the United States, could stand with us, without rancour and with love. Colombians reminded us that “this too will pass”, that “good leaders treat others with respect”, “money is not an end, just a means” and that “things will get better. Have strength!”. They shared from the experience they have lived, and continue to live.
So in case you need a little pick-me up, a well-earned breather after these two weeks we have all had, and some sage advice from people who really know what they are talking about, I share with you the messages left to us with love from Colombians and other nationalities at the sister march the 21st of January. Tomorrow we will begin again. Meanwhile, PAZciencia, friends!
Do you have a story to share from overseas or an action of resistance we can learn from? We would love you to share your experience: firstname.lastname@example.org