Byron Johnson, July 4, 2018.
In the words of a posting I read on Facebook, “I REACTIVATED JUST TO SAY A BLACK WOMAN PROTESTING ICE HAS CLIMBED THE STATUE OF LIBERTY ON THE …..4TH OF JULY AND THE ISLAND IS BEING EVACUATED. DON’T EVER SAY BLACK WOMEN AREN’T THE ……BOLDEST AND THE BEST.”
Therese Patricia Okoumou has been identified as the black woman who climbed to the NY Statue of Liberty on Independence Day 2018 in protest of ICE and the separation of immigrants families.She has since been captured, many people are calling her an icon. I too call her an icon.
Her bold, fierce and unapologetic facial expression pulled me at my core. It was a sense of responsibility and call that I felt from her to make such a bold and demanding decision to speak so loudly with her body. she sat at the foot, literally the heel of the symbol of liberty which begs for the tired, poor homeless masses yearning to be free and promised to lift its burning lamp to the door of freedom-America. But America seems to renege on its promise as black and brown bodies are killed, caged, permanently separated from families, and deported back to the counties they’ve once escaped.
It took the action of a black woman today to gain attention and to make a call. I thought what a juxtaposition she is presenting to sit at the heel, the foot of freedom as a representation of who is NOT free in the land. She represented all today who sought independence and freedom. She made a statement with her life. She challenged the status-quo, which is the job of the prophetic whom God calls and chooses to speak through. God’s purpose is to give freedom to those bound.
In this woman’s attempt to protest, law authorities responded to the call with protocol to evacuate the entire island to asses the situation and capture her. But I believe as she was there responding to HER call and protocol from God, I believe she acted upon the words of Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “ for where the Spirit of the LORD is , there is liberty.”
God was there. And I stood with her in solidarity and spirit today, in an attempt to stand for freedom.
(Photo provided by https://www.cbs58.com/news/woman-climbs-base-of-the-statue-of-liberty-on-independence-day)