By now if you have been paying even the slightest bit of attention to social media, you have heard of Bree Newsome, a 30-year-old African American woman who scaled the flagpole on the South Carolina capitol grounds on June 27 and took down the Confederate flag. A statement she emailed to the press around the time she went up the pole reads: “We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day…It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
From the top of the pole she called out “You come against me in the name of hatred, repression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.” As she descended the pole, she told Capitol police that she was prepared to be arrested. Newsome and James Tyson, who provided support from the ground, were both arrested and booked with “defacing a monument.” The charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine or a maximum jail time of three years. Each was released on $3,000 bond.
This incredibly courageous and bold action has caught the attention of millions, as #FreeBree and #KeepItDown trend on Twitter. Meanwhile, donations have poured in for her bail and defense.
Confederate flag a symbol of racism and oppression
While politicians in South Caroline prepare to debate whether or not to take down the flag, Newsome and other activists took matters into their own hands. Scaling the flagpole in a harness, Bree Newsome showed strength and determination in the struggle not only to take down a symbol of racism, but to dismantle white supremacy itself.
All progressive people should salute Bree Newsome today and inspired by her example, rededicate ourselves to smashing racism and, building a truly just society.