Remarks by Rev. Kaji Douša at 1/15 Press Conference

The Rev. Kaji Douša is Senior Minister of Park Avenue Christian Church:

It used to be that I spent my days commemorating Dr. King’s birth on the path of least resistance: participating in interfaith park cleanups and the like. This felt safest to organizers. 50 years after Dr. King was murdered, we understand that the safe road is no longer viable. We understand that we indeed must resist. My grandfather stood shoulder to shoulder with Dr. King, stood on the dais for the March on Washington. My mother dodged bullets with King in rural Mississippi. The work of the activist is, unfortunately but necessarily dangerous.

We saw this when we stood up for Ravi Ragbir on Thursday. Ravi, the most peaceful man any of us knows, as he was carted away in what we believe to be direct retaliation for his activism on behalf of immigrants.

51 years ago Dr. King said this: “Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.”

A week ago last Friday a group of 4 of us learned that ICE considered us their enemy as they plot out war games and a battlefield with us. Well, ICE: I’m here to say that we are not your enemy. Our leaders, Ravi and Jean are not your enemy. You may think that you’re taking us down by trying to deport them. But I say this: you’re only making us stronger. Our government may believe it’s ok to set evil policies based on considering places “shitholes”. But we do not believe in shithole theology.

We believe in a God who chooses the side of the ones you’re oppressing. So. We stand strong and undeterred. In the spirit of King we will resist. In the spirit of Mother Harriet, Of Sojourner Truth, Of the uncelebrated women and men and all people who made the choice to choose courage. We are not afraid. We will not stand down. And when history looks back on the choices we’ve made, it will be you, the deporters, who will be regarded with shame.