With the exception of a dad yelling “get off that pole,” those are four words (today) that we haven’t, and just won’t hear-given the trend, fad, and occupation gone glamorous [that at one time] was to be kept in secret and shame.
Well there was no shame in climbing a pole for a woman named Bree who took us all back to those fun days in P-E where we can all remember the thrill of rope-climbing races with our peers that, for North Carolina native, activist and freedom fighter Bree Newsome, got fed up with the nuisance: The Confederate Flag that hang above the Columbia, South Carolina statehouse’s steps for far too long in defiance and despite cries often asked that it be descended from ascension-hanging over head: its material symbolic and serving as a constant reminder of white supremacy and allegiance and support of systematic oppression and racial subjugation.
Like the laws of division of church and state that Confederate flag hung stubbornly over the statehouse’s step as if in opposition of the American flag being representative of “with liberty and justice for all” –serving as its own symbolic divider of ‘all.’
Despite it being known the world over as a symbol exclusively celebrated by some and hated by many, the stubborn solidarity backed by laws protected by the state-stating that until the General Assembly rules unanimously that the flag should be removed, it still had a home hanging high above South Carolina’s statehouse steps that is…until Bree Newsome decided differently.
Given the wake of race relations magnified over the past three years and the volume turned up through this past week where (on June 17) a Charleston, South Carolina man immersed himself in a history of hatred-taking selfies with the Confederate flag followed by the methodical decision to walk upon the steps of a church bible study class at Emmanuel AME and took it upon himself to annihilate 9 innocent people…one brave woman decided that enough was enough.
The flag has come under fire and removed from several online retailers and shelves of virtual stores and too, its removal threatened by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. But talk is cheap and Bree Newsome made the leap.
This morning June 27th-a day after the pastor of Emmanuel AME (who too, was one of the nine gunned down): state senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney was laid to rest attended by our U.S President Barack Obama who (among approximately 5,000 people at the Charleston arena) delivered a 40-minute moving eulogy where he killed three birds with one stone: gave a much-needed, long overdue speech about gun-control, race relations, and hatred and that dreaded flag in America prefacing all that he had to say with these words:
“We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for…to just say somebody was a good man.”
Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group. The light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court, in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.
History can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress, but must be a manual to avoid repeating mistakes of our past.
For too long we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats now acknowledge — including Gov. Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise — we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride.
“It would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.”
For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now removing the flag from this state’s Capitol would not be an act of political correctness, it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers, it would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong.
The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people, was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history. A modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better because of the work of so many people of good will. People of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag we express God’s grace.
Well amazing grace thou leaps and bounds.
As the sun rotated and the courage grew bigger, one woman woke up the next day and decided she was bigger than that hanging flag and talks of getting it had-in hopes of the 2/3rd majority vote by the legislature it would take to make that so. So to avoid the allowing ourselves to slip into that comfortable silence again; Bree Newsome woke up this morning and decided to make some people uncomfortable: Newsome did something about the nuisance all by her lonesome-despite breaking the law and facing the arrest she already knew she would be be under. But nothing deterred her from that cloth out of her reach but in her view. Arresting the development of that flag’s growing and blowing in the wind power another day she refused to endure while awaiting magical votes to make it disappear.
So in a David Blaine-ish attempt herself, Bree Newsome set out to make the dream no longer an illusion that for years, seemed impossible to make disappear: With the help of her spotter (James Tyson) she did it herself.
“You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”
Bree Newsome didn’t care about being arrested when she came down, as long as that flag was coming with her.
She and her spotter were apart of a group of protestors who organized having the flag removed in lieu of the remaining victim’s funerals being held this week, and felt that out of respect for them they didn’t see fit that the flag remain erect and the high regard its been held in-while 8 other people were held in low regard and gunned down by a man who worshipped the symbol. Bree Newsome wanted the remaining 8 victims to literally rest in peace this week-without that Confederate flag over the statehouse steps blowing in the wind.