A painting of the Statue of Liberty wearing a hijab hangs prominently in the Santa Ana, California, office of U.S. Rep. Lou Correa as part of a display showing the winners of a local student art competition. But despite objections from local activist group We the People Rising which believes the painting violates the separation of church and state, the congressman refuses to take it down.
Correa said he contacted the House Office of General Counsel to see if he was in violation and was told there would be no legal reason to remove the art. On Tuesday, the rep stated his final thoughts on the matter via Facebook:
The Statue of Liberty stands for #inclusion, #acceptance, and #freedom. The young woman who painted this is trying very hard to show people that she is an #American. If I took down her painting, I’d be telling the world her experiences don’t matter and she did something wrong. This is her country too, and she earned that spot on my wall.
Below are a couple of videos of the activist group confronting a defiant Rep. Correa and his employees. The group has planned another protest on September 11: