Therese Patricia Okumou (44), a physical therapist and activist from Staten Island NY, was born and educated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been living in New York for the last ten years. She is a member of “Rise and Resist” and is active in the resistance against President Trump. She has been described as ” very nice but can sometimes be a bitch” by a neighbor. I call her my Shero!
Yesterday, she did the unimaginable. She scaled the Statue of Liberty on July 4th – Independence Day – in protest for her cause to stop state violence and reunite immigrant children with their families who have been separated by the Trump Administration after being detained by ICE at the border.
I tuned in and watched with thousands of other women as she calmly walked around Lady Liberty’s toes while displaying a t-shirt that read “Rise and Resist”. The moment I realized what was going on, I was immediately transported in my head right there with her. Every time she took a step, my heart jumped. Then I would get elated when she would find her spot to rest. I stopped breathing towards the end when she began to climb Lady Liberty’s foot. Thank God she descended!
Rescue responders were quick dispatched and were at first met with a combative Therese. But, a friendly rapport quickly began with them where she felt comfortable enough to relax and actually feel very sorry for putting them in their predicament, as she apologized to them for doing so.
She quickly became my hero. Here is a woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty on of all days, the 4th of July. How badass is that! She had enough of the country’s bickering back and forth. She so desperately wants to see immigrant families reunited. She had a point to make.
And so he climbs on Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty with her words of, ” Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, The wretched refuse of your teeming Shore. To spread the light of Liberty world-wide for every land”, towered over Therese as if shielding her from Mother Nature and protecting her from harm. How beautifully fitting.
Meanwhile, she received mixed reviews from folks on social media. Some say she was selfish and she put other folks in danger by her stunt, others praised her for her incredible demonstration. I found it freakin’ awesome? That, I would have loved to be her at that moment? That first responders are trained to do this and we have the best so no worries there? That they now have a historic story to tell their grandchildren and are heroes?
I wasn’t sure what to post, so I posted my Truth. Which is that it was the baddest, most awesomeness protest/cause, display of activism, that I have ever seen!
I am a little unnerved that she got through security at a national monument of freedom on the 4th of July, yet fascinated and proud at the same time. Even her decency with the First Responders was flawless. I suddenly love everything about her!
Whatever rights and freedoms we have and enjoy have come via incredible protests like this one. She sparked a new flame in me and thousands of other women to fight and resist!
Therese has been arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges. I’m sure this will not be the last we hear from her, as she has become a National Shero!
A gofundme page has been set up to help with her legal expenses.