Independence Day Inspiration

This Independence Day we were really inspired by immigration activist Therese Patricia Okoumou. She is forty-four years old, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who lives in Staten Island and works as a personal trainer. On July 4th, Okoumou arrived at Liberty Island and scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest the current administration’s separation of migrant families at the border. She cited former First Lady Michelle Obama as the inspiration for her protest climb: “When they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could.” Okoumou was arrested for trespassing, interfering in an agency function and disorderly conduct. The next day, at her arraignment hearing, the courtroom erupted in applause when she plead not guilty to the charges. While her case remains to be made before a judge, it’s clear that Therese Patricia Okoumou has won people over to a just cause by disrupting norms and amplifying her voice. Using the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom, compassion, and strength to stand for the voiceless is bad-ass and we’re inspired by that. Happy Independence Day, 2018!

 

 

Therese Patricia Okoumou Climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4th to Protest of Trump's Immigration Policies

 

She refused to leave until "all the children are released."

By Nerisha Penrose

Jul 5, 2018

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What did you do on the Fourth? Eat some BBQ? Post a 'gram?

Therese Patricia Okoumo spent her holiday scaling the base of the Statue of Liberty in protest of President Trump's immigration policies, which included separating migrant parents from their children at the US-Mexico border.

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Okoumo is reportedly part of a group called Rise and Resist who journeyed to the historic landmark to protest migrant family separations. Okoumo refused to come down from the statue unless "all the children are released," a source from the New York Police Department told CNN. She climbed the statue around 3 p.m and continued to climb (even resting at the feet of Lady Liberty at one point) for about three hours until law enforcement arrived and carefully helped her down.

Okoumo's demonstration wasn't the only protest at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday. Rise and Resist, an organization dedicated to fighting for "equality, justice, and human rights" unfurled a banner that read "Abolish I.C.E," calling for the Trump administration to put an end to immigration policies.

Okoumo was arrested and could possibly be charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, among other charges. Rise and Resist took to Twitter to share that they support Okoumo's display of resistance.

"Rise and Resist will be doing jail support for Patricia, and is arranging great legal representation for her," a rep for the group wrote on Twitter. "We will let everyone know how they can further support her as soon as we find out more info."

Okoumo also garnered praise from several activists including Shaun King and Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, who shared a photo of Okoumo along with a quote from the late MLK.