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Inside The Statue of Liberty’s Radical Feminist, Pro-Refugee Roots

The first glimpse exiles had of the United States was of a mighty immigrant woman

Mostly, I remember stairs. A lot of stairs. And waiting. Both the endless steps and the wait were made longer—seemingly insurmountable—by my age. I was seven or eight, and it would soon be the first time I saw the largest piece of street art in America: The Statue of Liberty.

She isn’t usually thought of as street art—or even, really, as art. Instead, Lady Liberty is regarded as an icon: The embodiment of the United States of America as a safe place for refugees. She belongs to all of us—at the Women’s March and demonstrations against Trump’s immigration ban, she has been the image that most consistently appears, repurposed to suit each protester’s message on countless signs, T-shirts, and social media posts.

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