Black Woman Climbs Liberty Statue in Protest of Immigration Policy

By Malcolm Speaks

Therese Patricia Okoumou protested US immigration policy by scaling the Statue of Liberty.

Therese Patricia Okoumou protested US immigration policy by scaling the Statue of Liberty.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, a 44 year-old Staten Island activist who is a member of an organization called Rise and Resist, protested Trump’s immigration policy by climbing the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July. She is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo but has lived in New York for at least the last 10 years, according to the New York Daily News.

Miss Okoumou reportedly told police she wasn’t coming down until all the migrant children separated from their parents at the border were released.

Miss Okoumou is a personal trainer, therefore she was undoubtably up to the task.

Miss Okoumou was arrested and charged with federal trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges. She was arraigned in a Manhattan Federal Court last Thursday and stated that she was inspired by a famous quote from the former First Lady, Michelle Obama which expresses “When they go low, we go high.”

This same aerial message was taken to heart by Bree Newsome, a resident of North Carolina who drew national attention in 2015, when she climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina Capitol building and lowered the confederate flag. She also praised Therese Okoumou for her direct action.

“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 tweeted.

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. 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.”

Locally, Percy Green, a St. Louis Resident, climbed the St. Louis Arch in 1964 to protest the barring of Black workers and contractors from the Arch project. He climbed 125 feet up a ladder that was meant for the workers then remained at that height for five hours.

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