Sunday, March 24, 2019

Who Is Patricia Okoumou?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

We were taught those words in parochial school, and although I have long abjured my Christian upbringing, these words still make sense to me.

Who is Patricia Okoumou? 


Today’s Newsletter is authored by Lisa Savage, whose blog, Went 2 the Bridge is one of my faves.

Patricia Okoumou is a woman of conscience who could not stand by and watch children being separated from their parents and caged at the U.S.-Mexico border. First on July 4, she climbed the Statue of Liberty with her banner and was arrested. I wrote about that at the time, and you can read that here.

In an interview with Democracy Now! this month, she explained that the slogans on her attire are a response to the current First Lady who wore a jacket that said: I  REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” Okoumou said she was also inspired by our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who was often targeted by ugly racists and who responded, “When they go low, we go high.”

Okoumou commented: “I went as high as I could.”

Okoumou at Liberty's feet
When Okoumou was interviewed by Paper Magazine, reporter Michael Love Michael wrote her as saying:

“the way conservative politicians talk about the family separation crisis is steeped in misleading and xenophobic rhetoric designed to keep people distracted. You can’t call human beings illegal; you can’t call human beings aliens because our children are listening….Aliens come from outer space, and by calling our children that who want better lives, we are a detriment to them.”

Most recently, news that child separations and detentions were kept secret, that they generate profit for corporations like Northrup Grumman and Amazon, and that even infants have been separated from nursing mothers makes Okoumou’s cause even more pressing for those who care what their government does in their name.


Today activists will pack the courtroom in NYC for Okoumou’s bail hearing. A bad judge sentenced her to house arrest, claiming that she engages in activism because it’s the only way she has to make a living. Shame on him.

Those of us who can’t be in court with Okoumou today can help by contributing to her defense fund and other expenses here:

LA City Hall: intact family protesting  (source: Reuters)

Patricia Okoumou hears the children crying for their parents. Do you? (Trigger warning: this recording of their voices could make you cry, too.)


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