"I am Zahara and I have breast cancer. But I feel good today.
Yesterday at about 4:20 pm, Atlanta police arrested me inside the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel for crashing the private space where TPP delegates were carrying on their secret negotiations.
My message was:
1. Drop the death sentence clause of the TPP that will delay access to affordable live saving biologic medicines for breast cancer patients like me, and other cancer patients around the world.
2. End the secrecy of these negotiations -- Let us see the TPP text so we can verify that this death sentence clause is not in there.
3. US Trade Rep Negotiators: Stop promoting monopolies on medicine and the narrow interests of big drug companies and instead promote the interests of all people in the US.
4. Other negotiators: continue to stay strong in opposing this unnecessary and harmful death sentence clause.
As you may know, it took only a few minutes for the cops to handcuff me and roll me and my IV pole off the 7th floor. Then I had a long, interesting, almost 10 hour journey through what is called the criminal justice system. Over the course of that journey, I came to think of it as the criminally unjust system. You here in Atlanta probably knew it already, but that Fulton County Jail is about as inhuman as some of the provisions in the TPP. They let me out at 2 AM, thanks to the efforts of the wonderful lawyer Mauli Davis, the bond fund, Neil of Jobs with Justice and Melinda of Global Trade Watch and Tim of AFSC and all of you who were sending me prayers and good energy.
By the time I got out, I was very cold, tired, and confused by the twisted processes and rules of the system. I finally got to bed at 3 am.
But I feel good today.
I feel good today, in large part because over the course of my treatment, I have had access to some amazing, cutting edge cancer medicines including the monoclonal antibodies Herceptin, Perjeta, and Xgeva. These drugs have helped me lead a relatively normal life despite my cancer, and be here for my sweet 10 year old son.
I am here today fighting so other people with cancer can feel this good. So the TPP death sentence clause never comes into effect. So people around the world can have access to affordable biologic medicines. And I plan to keep fighting this provision and joining with people fighting the other injustices of the TPP.
And that brings me to the other reason that I feel good today.
I feel good today because I have some other forms of medicine, stronger than the chemo, stronger than the biologics:
I have the medicine of unity, in the form of being in this struggle with all of you together: workers, health care providers, patients, activists, students, organizers, with our voices blending in harmony as we sing our chants against the TPP.
I have the shot in the arm of international solidarity, inoculating me against despair, pumping me full of hope from my brothers and sisters in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Peru and around the world.
I have the IV drip of history, our collective stories and the stories of our activist ancestors flowing into my blood: a legacy of organizing that has deep deep roots here in Atlanta, around the country and around the world. I am infused with the lessons and inspiration from this history, not just from the civil rights movement, but also from the righteous actions of Act Up, from the anti-apartheid movement, and back deeper into the movements against the slave trade and slavery itself. This infusion of history keeps me strong and keeps me thriving.
And finally, I have the traditional medicine of love, love in the form of hugs; kind and supportive words, tweets, posts and emails; and actions like those of my new friends Neil and Tim, who joined Melinda in welcoming me out of jail at 2 in the morning, when they still had work to do for the protests today.
With these medicines -- unity, solidarity, history, and love -- I feel good today.
I know I have become the poster child of access to medicines. The media loves the story of the individual.
But the truth is, I did the easy part, one act of activism. As grueling as the hours in jail were, that does not compare to the years of hard work organizers and organizations have done to try to kill the TPP. The real heroes are all of you who have done the weeks, months, and years of unglamorous work on organizing for economic and social justice.
Those of you who stayed up late in the night analyzing the thick and wonky provisions of the wiki leaked version of the TPP.
Those who endured grueling coalition meetings to pull off this event and so many other events over the years of the struggle against the TPP.
Those who organized yourselves and others to be here today and at other protests, taking time away from work, family, and personal work to let the world know we will not stand for the injustices of the TPP.
When we are organized, thousands of our small individual actions are like a drops of water coming together to make a waterfall that can break down stone.
So let's keep fighting. We'll keep fighting to expand access to life-saving medicines. We'll keep fighting to preserve workers rights. We'll keep fighting to protect our pacha mama, our mother earth. We'll keep fighting this TPP and other efforts to put obscene profits ahead of human needs and environmental sanity.
With love, I thank you, brothers, sisters, friends and comrades from Atlanta and around the world. Let's keep fighting until all people with cancer, all workers, all environmentalists, all human rights workers, and social justice organizers of all kinds can look at the world we have created together, and say "I feel good today."
On September 30, 2015, Zahara, a seven-year breast cancer survivor currently in treatment, was arrested after disrupting Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her protest was aimed at maintaining access to affordable cancer medicines in the 12 countries affected by the trade treaty.
Zahara was held in police custody until 2 AM the next morning.
Read Zahara's speech to supporters upon her release from jail after her arrest below.