Activists Protest ICE at the Statue of Liberty on 4th of July


While some people were busy grilling hot dogs to celebrate the Fourth of July, others had no reason to celebrate America’s independence. A group of protesters took their activism against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the separation of families at the border directly to the most iconic symbol of the United States of America: the Statue of Liberty.

A group of people affiliated with Rise and Resist NYC put up a banner that said “ABOLISH ICE” while others wore t-shirts that spelled it out.

One protester took activism a step further. Therese Patricia Okoumou, a 44-year-old woman climbed up the Statue of Liberty and allegedly told police that she would not come down until the children in Texas were freed. News outlets report that Okoumou is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is a resident of Staten Island.

CNN reports that a group of 16 officers approached the woman and tried to get her to come down.

“At first, she wasn’t friendly with us, but we took the time to get a rapport with her so that took a while,” New York City Officer Brian Glacken said, according to CNN. “She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas. I guess the whole debate that’s going on about that. In the beginning, she threatened to push us off, push the ladder off, but we stayed with her.”

The officer also said that the woman apologized to them for having to go up there to get her.

People on social media have been applauding Okoumou for bringing awareness to the separation of families on the national holiday that is supposed to be about celebrating freedom.

While Okoumou has been arrested, Rise and Resist NYC is working on securing her with a legal representative.

Jay W. Walker, a member of Rise and Resist NYC, said yesterday’s protest was not just about the country’s immigration problems but to also highlight what America stands for.

“We thought we wanted to do something on our Independence Day, a day that obviously is meant for reflection on the ideals on which this nation was founded. This country has posited itself as a beacon. Right now, we have a government that is actively turning its back on those ideals,” Walker said, according to CNN.

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