Activist Faces Prison for Climbing Monuments to Protest Family Separation

AMY GOODMAN: Immigrant rights activist Patricia Okoumou, who made national headlines last year after she scaled the Statue of Liberty to protest family separations, climbed atop a Southwest Key building last week to protest the company, which operates detention centers for migrant children. Today, as thousands of children remain separated from their parents, a judge will decide whether to revoke Okoumou’s bail from her first arrest because of her activism in Texas last week. Okoumou was with the group Rise and Resist on July 4th last year as they dropped a banner from the Statue of Liberty that read ”ABOLISH ICE.” She broke away from the group and climbed all the way to Lady Liberty’s left foot, where she continued to protest and refused to leave until she was arrested. She spoke to reporters after she came down.

PATRICIA OKOUMOU: 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.

AMY GOODMAN: Patricia Okoumou has since pleaded not guilty to trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct. Her sentencing is scheduled for March 19th. But prosecutors claim her latest protest this past week in Austin, Texas, was a violation of the terms of her bond, and she’s been ordered back to court today, where her bail could be revoked and she could be immediately jailed. Just hours before she presents herself at the courthouse, immigrant rights activist Patricia Okoumou joins us now in our New York studio.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, climber.

PATRICIA OKOUMOU: Thank you, Amy. I am psyched to be right here sitting next to you. I watch your show all the time, and I’m a fan. I’m a big fan.

AMY GOODMAN: So, tell us about what you did last week in Austin, Texas.

PATRICIA OKOUMOU: Well, last week, let’s not forget, was Valentine. And I was planning ahead of time, at least two to three weeks, about my action. I targeted CEO Juan Sánchez. He is a billionaire who is making…

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