Many are calling Therese Patricia Okoumou a hero after she climbed to the foot of the Statue of Liberty in a July 4th protest over Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy that separated children from their families.
Talk about the ultimate act of protesting for immigrant rights! A woman identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July to protest President Donald Trump‘s controversial policy that tore migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border. A group called “Rise and Resist” had protested the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s behavior, with “Abolish ICE” banners at the landmark. Afterwards the woman scaled to the sandal of the iconic statue. It caused the National Parks Service to evacuate Liberty Island on one of its busiest days of the year. A poem on the statue welcomes immigrants, reading “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” and Therese found that to be the perfect place to highlight the plight of immigrant kids being held in detention centers away from their jailed parents. We’ve got five things to know about her.
1. Therese is an immigrant herself.
The 44-year-old Staten Island resident was born and educated in the Democratic Republic of Congo according to records, but has spent the last decade living in New York
2. Therese is passionate about the plight of migrant kids and immigrants.
She reportedly refused to come down until all of the migrant children being held in detention centers were set free and reunited with their parents. NBC reported from law enforcement sources that she said she would come down when “All the children have been released.” Rise and Resist member Jay Walker told the New York Daily News that she’s joined the group weekly for protests over the past four to five months over Trump’s various immigration crackdowns.
3. Therese did not come down on her own will.
Police with safety ropes had to grab her and bring her down as she sat under the sandal of the statue. She was eventually tethered between two officers and climbed down to the promontory via a ladder to safety. “No one in the group knew this was going to happen,” Walker told the Daily News. “We don’t know if she did it on the spur of the moment or if she had been planning it beforehand.”
4. Therese isn’t afraid of heights.
The base of the pedestal to the statue is 89 feet high, and she scaled it in a pair of pink tennis shoes without any climbing equipment!
5. Therese is a personal trainer.
According to the NYDN, she works as a personal trainer by profession, per a 2009 Staten Island Advance article, and has worked around NYC and the Catskills as a physical therapist.