A Conversation With My Daughter

Perhaps I can best explain why I knowingly chose to break the law by recalling a conversation I had with my 7-year-old daughter before she left for school on the morning of December 7.

Me: Kietrie, there is a chance I will not be able to pick you and your sister up from school this afternoon, and there is a chance I will have to spend the night at the D.C. jail tonight.

Kietrie: Why, mommy, what did you do wrong?

Me: Well, Kietrie, as you know, most laws are made to help people and to protect people. Can you think of such a law?

Kietrie: Yes, like wearing seat belts or like not killing anyone.

Me: Good thinking. Can you think of a law that hurt people?

Kietrie: Yes, like the laws that kept black people from eating in any restaurant they wanted to or the laws that hurt Jewish people in Germany.

Me: Those are good examples. Well, our country is in the process of making a budget, which is like a law in that it will affect many people's lives. I feel very deeply that this budget will hurt poor people. So today I am going to go with some friends to the place where they make the laws in this country. We are going to gather and pray in a place where we are not supposed to gather and pray.

Kietrie: Why, mommy?

Me: We hope to get the attention of the people who make the laws. We feel it is important that we get their attention, because if they do not hear this message, more and more people who are vulnerable will suffer in the years to come.

Kietrie: But mommy, why would the people who make the laws even think of making laws that could hurt poor people?

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1996
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