Last month, Therese Patricia Okoumou inspired many when she bravely scaled the Statue of Liberty to draw attention to the government’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. The activist and a group of protesters from Rise and Resist New York unfurled a banner that read “ABOLISH ICE.” Soon after, Therese climbed to the base of the statue and refused to budge until “all the children are released.” After three hours, police eventually detained Okoumou, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, a month later, she’s telling her own story in her own words.
“I was the person up there, begging Lady Liberty for rescue, to help us as a nation,” she told TicToc by Bloomberg. “I’m not apologetic to standing up for children who are in cages. My act of defiance on the Fourth of July was because of the callous way in which this administration has been dealing with migrant children. To me, it stole something from my soul. I didn’t think we were doing enough. After what we did, Rise and Resist and me, I felt like it’s not going to stop here. It’s not going to be enough. I have to go up there. And I had a sense that it would make a difference.”
With Therese’s story trending across the country, it did bring more attention to this topic. When she climbed the statue, the Trump Administration said it would stop splitting up the mostly Central American families. But the issue is far from resolved. Some children are back in their parents are, but there are still many who have yet to be released.