Statue of Liberty Protester Found Guilty on All Charges, Stands Strong: ‘I Am on the Right Side of History’

Statue of Liberty Climber Guilty of Trespassing for Immigration Protest

By Reuters

  • Dec. 17, 2018

NEW  YORK — A woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty’s stone pedestal to  protest U.S. immigration policy declared in federal court on Monday she  would do it again to call attention to the plight of families separated  at the border and was found guilty of trespassing.

I had a bench trial in which Judge Gabriel Gorenstein found me guilty on all three counts of federal misdemeanors related to my action on July 04th when I scaled the Statue of Liberty to demand that Trump immediately reunite all detained migrant children with their families.

 “Remember, I did sacrifice my life on the Fourth of July. I could’ve  fallen. The police could’ve shot me. Anything could’ve happened,” she  said. “I did it for the children. They need to be released immediately.  It’s not right to have children in cages and holidays go by, birthdays  go by, and we’re just sitting around and watching and being  comfortable.”

 “I’m hoping that this is an opportunity for me not only to talk to the  judge but to the whole world as I did on the 4th of July to remind  everyone that we have children in cages and there are still a lot of  children in cages,” Okoumou said to PIX11 News. “No child belongs in a  cage. Period.”

 “I wanted to send a strong statement that children do not belong in cages,” she told the court while choking up. “Donald J. Trump came up with this zero-tolerance policy (of separation). I have had nightmares and night sweats,” she added. Asked by one of her attorneys, Ron Kuby, if, given the chance, she would do it again, she simply added, “Yes.” Okoumou will be sentenced on March 5.

 Okoumou said she couldn’t live with the sight of “children in cages” without bringing the issue to a wider audience. “Instead  of treating them with kindness, what we’ve shown them is cages,” she  said after court. “So if I go in the cage with them, I am on the right  side of history. I do not regret my actions on the Fourth of July.”

 “Unfortunately, as long as our children are being placed in cages my  moral values call for me to do something about it,” Okoumou—outfitted in  a blue headband that read “I care,” harkening back to Melania Trump’s tone-deaf border visit outfit—tearfully said on the stand. Would she stage the same protest again, her lawyer asked? “Yes,” she reportedly replied.

 “I couldn’t live with the guilt—our country was imprisoning children,  ripping tender-aged children from their mother. To me, that was the  straw that broke the camel’s back,” Okoumou told Jezebel. 

 Esther Wang, “I’m pretty sure we’re charging the wrong people with crimes related to the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrants and their families.”

Okoumou told reporters after the hearing that she does not regret her action and believes she is “on the right side of history.” “Our laws sometimes lack morality and this is the perfect example of that,” she said.

 “I wanted to send a strong statement that children do not belong in  cages,” said Okoumou, on Monday morning at the start of her trial at the  Manhattan federal court. “We stand on the right side of the history. I am not discouraged,” she said.  “While migrant children who simply came to this country, like our  ancestors did, to seek happiness, freedom and liberation. Instead of  welcoming them like Lady Liberty symbolizes, instead of treating them  with kindness, what we showed them is cages. So if I go in a cage with  them, I am on the right side of history.”  “It would never happen in my country – we don’t treat children like  political bait,” she said. “I just have had nightmares and night  sweats.”

 Speaking after her trial, however, Okoumou said that she was “not  discouraged,” and thanked her friends, supporters, and fellow Rise and  Resist members.

 Therese Patricia Okoumou: “I’m really happy with the  outcome because we are still talking about the children in these  concentration camps. Thank you for those who are at home in solidarity  with us, in spirit.”

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