Bree Newsome, Y'all

[Content Note: White supremacy.]

Over the weekend, a 30-year-old black woman named Bree Newsome, who is an activist, filmmaker, and musician, strapped herself into climbing gear, scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state capitol, and removed the Confederate flag.

image of Bree Newsome, clinging to the flag pole high up in the air next to the capitol, with the Confederate flag in her hand
This is what civil disobedience looks like. [Photo by Adam Anderson.]

Newsome was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of defacing monuments on the Capitol grounds, which carries a fine of up to $5,000, a sentence of three years, or both. James Ian Tyson, the 30-year-old white male activist who supported Newsome from the ground, was also arrested and charged. More than $100,000 has been raised for their bail and "for other courageous activists taking direct action in the movement for Black lives."

Newsome, whose former classmates recall her as a principled and courageous leader, said on the day of her action and arrest: "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."

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, said that Newsome is a "committed, trained, non-violent messenger of the truth [with a] deep commitment [to] justice, love, and true inter-racial community. ...[Newsome] stands in a long tradition ...Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and more recently hundreds of protesters in Moral Monday...were all considered, at first, criminals for their acts of conscience. We stand in solidarity with her."

A lot of people have observed that Bree Newsome looks like a superhero in that already iconic photo. Of course she looks like a hero. That's because she is one.

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