[Pnews] Therese Coupez ¡PRESENTE! Rest In Power

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 16 18:22:52 EDT 2015


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*Therese Coupez ¡PRESENTE! Rest In Power*

Therese Coupez, 62, was a bright spirit who gave everything she had to 
make this world more just. She slipped away from us during the dawn 
hours of Tuesday, September 8.

On getting the news that she had pancreatic cancer: “I feel surprisingly 
peaceful about it all. I’ve lived a good life, mostly with grace and 
always with integrity.” After a ceremony we held at her house in August, 
Therese shared with us: “Today just might have been the finest gift I’ve 
ever received. My heart is still open and full from the blessings of the 
pipe, and the care from all of you.”

Therese grew up on the Port Madison Indian reservation of the Saquamish 
tribe on Puget Sound with her grandmother, who was Irish and spoke 
Gaelic. Therese was a healer, an acupuncturist who found her way to the 
Mission district where she lived for 31 years. Therese came here after 
being paroled from the federal penitentiary in 1984. She served almost 7 
years for political activities in the late 60s and early 70s as part of 
the George Jackson Brigade.

She said at one point: “A lot of people were wiling to risk a lot in 
order to make change, to try to make the world a fairer and better 
place. Why I individually chose to respond to that came from an early 
life’s training to care about what was going on in the world, and take 
seriously what our responsibilities were to make the world a better 
place. And to stand up to injustice and wrong when it showed its face in 
the world.”

In her early years she worked with UFW. “I come from working people so 
there was a great respect for unions. And unionizing and the 8-hour day 
and no child labor and there’s a whole history of fighting for that. And 
Seattle’s a good union town. So I worked with the United Farmworkers 
Union and learned then about the conditions in the migrant towns and the 
way that our food was harvested in this country, and the way the people 
who harvested our food were treated.”

Therese believed that activists too, are real healers. “I did go on to 
become a healer [acupuncture], and in many ways, true activists are 
healers. That if you’re an activist in the world, you’re working to make 
the world a better place. You’re working to see that people have a home. 
To see that people have healthy food, to see that people have access to 
healthy lifestyles, parks, and places to walk, run. That people have 
access to good, solid, healthy education. All of those things. That’s 
healing to our culture, its healing to our society as a whole.”

Therese told me that she eventually moved her way “into working outside 
the law and -- it did look like the world was on the brink of some 
pretty profound and fundamental change in the late 60s and early 70s.

“So, it was my great honor to do time with a number of nuns who had 
engaged in civil disobedience and were doing six months or a year – they 
would break into the Naval Weapons Station in Banger, Washington state, 
and hammer on the heads of the missiles. Purely symbolic, and then they 
were convicted of a federal crime because they put a dent in the head of 
the missiles and they would pour blood on the missiles too.

“And then I was lucky enough to have done time with Haydee Torres from 
the Puerto Rican movement, and with Judy Siff, who was one of the 
Weather Underground related groups and with Carmen Valentine and Dylcia 
Pagan from the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, and all of these 
people — whether it was the civil disobedience or more direct illegal 
acts, they were just incredible people. They all had so much integrity. 
A lot of people were wiling to risk a lot in order to make that change, 
to try to make the world a fairer and better place.

“There are still close to 100 political prisoners in the United States 
today either part of or related to the Black Panther Party; and Leonard 
Peltier—the American Indian Movement; Oscar Lopez-the Puerto Rican 
independence Movement. People still to this day are locked up for, in 
most cases, nothing more than a conviction to conspire – not even for 
actual acts. We must not forget them.”

She added, “These were some of the most honest people that I ever met. 
And sincere in what they were about and what they were doing and in 
their willingness to risk their lives. And their families and to just 
risk everything in order to stand up for independence. In order to stand 
up for their land and their people.”

Therese Coupez. PRESENTE.



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