On the Fourth of July, a Black woman rose up in resistance and scaled the Statute of Liberty to protest the Trump administration and its harsh immigration policies.
Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, of Staten Island is an immigrant herself from the Democratic Republic of Congo but has lived in NYC at least for the last 10 years, reports the NY Daily News.
Okoumou reportedly told police she wasn’t coming down until all the migrant children separated from their parents at the border were released.
Okoumou, an activist with the group Rise and Resist, has reportedly been protesting Trump’s immigration policy tactics. Earlier this week the group waved an “Abolish ICE” banner at the bottom of the Statue but members of the group said no one knew of Okoumou’s intentions.
Okoumou was obviously tired of being tired as she waved a “Rise and Resist” tee as well as a “Trumpcare Makes Us Sick,” shirt.
While many people are trying to figure out where this fierce black woman avenger came from, Bree Newsome, an artist who drew national attention in 2015 when she climbed the flagpole in front of the South Carolina Capitol building and lowered the confederate battle flag, took time to praise Okoumou for her heroic act.
“Protesting at the Statue of Liberty demanding an end to state violence & the inhumane detention of children seems a fitting way to spend a holiday that’s purportedly about celebrating the end of tyranny. Happy July 4th to #TheresePatriciaOkoumou,” Newsome tweeted.
Protesting at the Statue of Liberty demanding an end to state violence & the inhumane detention of children seems a fitting way to spend a holiday that’s purportedly about celebrating the end of tyranny. Happy July 4th to #TheresePatriciaOkoumou
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) July 5, 2018
She continued: “Reminder: whatever rights and freedoms we enjoy today were gained through struggle by people who openly challenged oppressive power structures and unjust laws, often acting in violation of the laws of their time. The American Revolution was exactly that. 1/
That’s why protests at Statue of Liberty today were brilliant. They drew attention to central hypocrisy of US policy: annually celebrating the revolution of the white founders while annually denying freedom & humanity to the descendants of Africans & Indigenous Americans 2/2.”
Climbing up Lady Liberty is no small feat and it definitely requires a person to be fit. In that case, Okoumou fits the bill since she works as a personal trainer, and she also has a history as a physical trainer.
On Wednesday, Okoumou was arrested and charged with federal trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges.
This brave woman. From the literal foot of Liberty. Legs crossed. Speaking, calmly, for all of us. With a sense of morality & humanity. Release those children. Reunite the families. Stay awake America. Do not lose your outrage. Do not become numb to injustice. This is patriotism. pic.twitter.com/hKTM1PCTyv
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) July 5, 2018
Today she is scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Tito Rivera, the superintendent of her apartment building. “She’s very outspoken about the Trump administration.”
Rise and Resist members released a second statement on the matter after critics suggested they were distancing themselves from Okoumou.
The members of Rise and Resist have listened to the criticism of the statement we released earlier Wednesday evening. On reflection, we realize that in our haste to complete the statement so that we could continue working to secure the best legal representation for Patricia, we unintentionally led people to believe that we were distancing the group from Patricia. Nothing could be further from the truth. Patricia is our friend, our comrade, our sister. From the moment that we realized that this amazing woman whom we have gotten to know, love, and respect was the person who had climbed to the foot of Lady Liberty, we had three concerns: one for her safety from falling, second, for her safety as a woman of color who was about to be engaged by law enforcement, and third, to find her the best legal representation that we could. Our members will be at 500 Pearl St. at 9:00 AM tomorrow and we welcome any New Yorker who has been inspired by her utter and absolute fierceness to join us. We unequivocally support Patricia. We will have an additional statement Thursday morning with updates.