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Who is Therese Patricia Okoumou, the woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty to protest U.S. immigration policy

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 7/5/2018
a graffiti covered wall © Courtesy Miranda Nunez Moreno

The woman arrested for scaling the base of the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday as part of a protest against U.S. immigration policy is an immigrant herself and an active participant in the resistance movement against President Trump, according to fellow demonstrators.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, 45, of Staten Island, was born and educated in the People’s Republic of Congo, but she has lived in New York for at least the last 10 years, records show.

She joined the group Rise and Resist, which unfurled an ABOLISH ICE banner at the base of the statue on Wednesday, a few months ago and has been taking part in about one protest a week with the group, according to member Jay Walker.

“She’s been an active member of Rise and Resist for four or five months,” Walker said. “She’s participated in quite a few of our actions.”

The group disavowed her law-breaking stunt on their social media posts, but they expressed concern for her well-being.

“No one in the group knew this was going to happen,” Walker said. “We don’t know if she did it on the spur of the moment or if she had been planning it beforehand.”

He said he could see her at the base of the statue.

“She was standing on the platform, touching her foot,” he said. “I hope when they took her down they didn’t injure her. That’s our main concern.”

She was arrested last year for trespassing and obstruction of government administration during another demonstration in August

Public records show that Okoumou has a long history of fighting social justice battles, even her own.

She unsuccessfully filed a human rights complaint in 2007 against a group home in Staten Island for racial discrimination.

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