This year on the 4th of July, an activist named Therese Patricia Okoumou took her advocacy for fellow migrants and refugees to whole new heights with a spontaneous protest during which she climbed the Statue of Liberty with a sign reading "Abolish ICE". Watch the original CNN report and live footage here:
When asked about her inspirations for this protest during and interview outside the New York City courthouse with CBS she quoted First Lady Michelle Obama:
"When they go low, we go high, and I went as high as I could go,"
She went on to elaborate:
"In a democracy we do not put children in cages period. There is no debating it. Nothing you could say to me could justify putting children in cages."
Watch this video for full details about her inspirations, her motivations, and the charges and potential consequences she faces:
I think it's safe to say that the simple image of a Black Woman climbing one of the most iconic symbols of American Freedom is potent. Michael Harriot of The Root compares her actions to metaphors for the actions of civil rights sHeroes Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. I have to agree that the images of her being pursued across the surface of the statue of liberty by police is a powerful visual metaphor for the way that Black Women have to constantly struggle to be heard, believed, and taken seriously as they constantly work to elude, outwit, and outmaneuver their oppressors over cultural terrain that many of us would consider difficult if not impossible to navigate.
I have tremendous respect for Ms. Therese Patricia Okoumou and her powerful visual statement. I hope that her action helps inspire and fuel further nonviolent activism momentum across the country. I can't wait to see what she does in the future. Read more about her and some history about protests at the statue of liberty here:
Word art and Post by Andrea Hughes