On the 16th of every month, come rain or shine, for a year, Tamina Mirza took to the streets of Lahore in Pakistan to stand against terrorism.
Over that year she built a core of activists, and now she protests against minority persecution and terrorism across Pakistan.
She was moved to act in 2014 after “things changed for all of us” when 145 children were massacred at an army school in Peshawar by the Taliban.
“I just took it upon myself to start a series of protests against the Taliban and terrorists, “ she told Clarion Project. “I did them on every 16th of each month as a mark of remembrance and to pay my debt to those kids who were ruthlessly slaughtered.”
The monthly protests became a catalyst for a broader movement against terrorism. They no longer take place because the scope has broadened beyond the victims of the Peshawar attack, but Tamina is still at the forefront of protesting against the Taliban.
Mirza, a teacher in Lahore, told us that at first she demonstrated alone but as her protests continued, she inspired others to demonstrate with her. They have now become her friends. The numbers ebb and flow, but she is always there.
She demonstrates either at the Lahore Press Club or at Liberty Roundabout, two places in Lahore where protests of various kinds commonly take place.
She also said that many Pakistanis agree with her but are too scared to speak out. Terrorist sympathizers began a hate campaign against her on social media in an attempt to pressurize her into stopping her protests, but she has carried on regardless.
The hate campaign managed to shut down her Facebook profile, but she opened another one and is continuing to protest.
She sees herself as “just doing my bit,” saying, “They can’t silence the voice of truth for long.”
“My own son is always there protesting with me” she said. “That’s the message I send to people, it’s these children for whom we need to take a stand.”