Former First Lady Michelle Obama was clear when she said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that when “they go low, we go high.” This was the phrase that the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth July took to the heart—literally.
According to the New York Daily News, Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, a Staten Island personal trainer and activist, stressed the following in front of the outside the Manhattan federal courthouse on Thursday: “Michelle Obama — our beloved First Lady that I care so much about — said, ‘When they go low, we go high,’ and I went as high as I could.”
She added: “Trump has ripped this country apart. It is depressing. It is outrageous. I can say a lot of things about this monster but I will stop at this: his draconian zero-tolerance policy has to go. In a democracy we do not rip children—we do not put children in cages, period. There is no debating it. Nothing you can say to me will justify putting children in cages. Only a stupid, unintelligent coward and insecure—I will add, a maniac—will rip a tender-aged child from its mother. Reunite the children now.”
Okoumou, a Congolese immigrant, plead not guilty to federal misdemeanors of trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct this week.
As we previously reported, Okoumou was arrested on Wednesday (July 4) for perching herself up on the Statue of Liberty waving a t-shirt with the phrase, “Trump Care Makes Us Sick,” plastered on it. After a three-hour stand-off, the police finally arrested her.
CBS News reported that Det. Brian Glacken of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit said at press conference that Okoumou talked to them about the “children in Texas,” referring to the Trump administration’s policy that separated families who entered the country illegally.
Okoumou, a member of the protest group Rise and Resist, strongly believes that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency needs to be abolished. ICE under Trump has separated more than 3000 children from their parents at the Mexico-U.S. border, to much chagrin, in the past few months.
While many are calling her a hero, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman called her incident a “dangerous stunt.”
“While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceable protest, that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk,” Berman said in a statement.
If convicted, Okoumou could face up to six months behind bars on each count, CBS noted.
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