CityWatch Today: The Intrepid Therese Patricia Okoumou: ‘I Went As High As I Could’

GUEST COMMENTARY--Wearing a t-shirt that read "White Supremacy Is Terrorism," Therese Patricia Okoumou, the dauntless 44-year-old immigrant from Democratic Republic of Congo who scaled the Statue of Liberty in a July 4th protest against the current regime's barbaric immigration policies, was released from custody Thursday without bail. 

A member of the group "Rise and Resist" which also hung a banner urging "Abolish ICE," Okoumou had earlier pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court to multiple federal misdemeanor charges - trespassing, interference with government agency functions, and disorderly conduct. 

She was also charged with resisting arrest by refusing to leave her heroic perch at the bottom of Lady Liberty's robes in what one prosecutor dismissed as "a dangerous stunt" but what many others viewed as a dazzling act of dissent.

A Staten Island personal trainer and naturalized citizen who came here in 1994, Okoumou (photo left) was calmly defiant as she told a crowd of supporters she'd been inspired by Michelle Obama: "(She) said, 'When they go low, we go high,' and I went as high as I could."

She also thanked the national park police for their courtesy and professionalism during the several-hour standoff, adding, "I think the NYPD can learn something or two from them."

The crass pretender to the crown could likewise learn some dignity and eloquence from Okoumou, but (duh) he won't; at a deranged rally Thursday, he was his usual stately self as he sneered, "You saw that clown yesterday on the Statue of Liberty?"

Okoumou, as usual, went high. "I can say a lot of things about this monster, but I will stop at this - His draconian zero-tolerance policy on immigration has to go," she said.

"In a democracy, we do not put children in cages. Period."

(Guest columnist Abby Zimet writes for Common Dreams … where this perspective was first posted.)

-cw