12 THE GREENSBORO TIMES Publisher’s View
THE GREENSBORO TIMES
5 Legal B Bree Newsome’s Take Down of the Confederate Flag BY CHARLENE MUHAMMAD
American Hypocrisy Slammed on Racism and Human Rights V
Publisher, Earl Jones On June 27, 2015 at 6:15
am, Bree Newsome, a Charlotte, NC resident and Raleigh native equipped with a harness, climbed the flagpole and removed the con- federate flag that has become the focus of much debate across the nation in the days since an Ameri- can racist thug and terrorist shot and killed nine African Ameri- cans inside of Charleston’s AME Emanuel Church in South Caroli- na, Police Officers arrested New- some, 30 and charged her with de- facing a monument. Newsome’s act was a tactical assault on a symbolic tool of racial oppression.
Newsome is not new to protests. She was arrested in 2013 along with
others protesting voter suppression policy changes passed by the North Carolina legislature. Given her experience protesting voting policies in North Carolina, Newsome, a singer-songwriter and educator, told reporters that when she came to the South Carolina State House, she was determined to remove the flag and prepared to face the legal consequences, which she did while smiling. She was charged with defacing state property, which carries a penalty of three years maxi- mum in prison and or a fine up to $5,000.00.
Newsome called the battle flag “this symbol of hatred, this symbol of
treason.” As to why she took this action of civil disobedience, Newsome wrote in a statement in the Blue Nation Review, “A white man had just entered a black church and massacred people as they prayed. He had assassinated a civil rights leader. This was not a page in a textbook I was reading nor an inscription on a monument I was visiting.” She said, “This was now. This was real. This was, this is still happening.” She described the confederate flag as a symbol of “racial intimidation and fear.”
By midday, on the day Newsome took down the flag, “Free Bree”
was the nation’s top trending hash tag on twitter. Vanity Fair posted an admiring article stating that Ava Duvernay, Director of the movie Selma called Newsome ‘a black superhero.” NAACP leaders in Raleigh and Baltimore issued state- ments of support and a crowd funding page to raise bail has brought in more than $66,000.00 in support of this courageous young woman.
Newsome is the daughter of educators. Her father is former Shaw
University President Clarence G. Newsome and her mother works with students of color, children of poverty and those who do not speak English at home.
Bree Newsome’s act of civil disobedience to take down the confederate
flag is admirable and is a courageous act to protest a government sanction symbol of hatred, terror, and treason. Civil disobedience was predicated on the proposi- tion that the South Carolina laws requiring the flying of the confederate flag over the state capitol was a conflict with morality, the dignity of humankind and the sanctity of human life. Her act was an effort to help influence a cause, the repeal of the policy allowing the flag to continue to fly over the state capitol.
Bree Newsome’s brave act should inspire all of us not to just complain
about the injustice and do nothing but to act. Change can only come through bold and bodacious action. There will always be those naysayers, appeasers, and accommodator’s who favor the status quo in power, no matter the injustice or social wrong. Those who favor more politically and socially acceptable forms of resistance. Sometimes we must abandon the comfort and relatively safety of the norm. Newsome took a stand against oppression and the symbols that feed racial injustice. When will you take a stand? If not for yourself, perhaps for your children, your family, or your friends and community. The anti-slave abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ words provide the guidepost for action, “Power concedes nothing without demand, it never has, and it never will.”
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