WCW: Bree Newsome

This hashtag irritates the crap out of me.

Okay, okay. It can be cute when boo thangs write memoirs about their significant other but what the fuck with the objectifying descriptions, especially towards womyn? As the wise Janelle Monae once wrote to an ignorant misogynist (wait… those two words are synonyms to each other, aren’t they?) Sit down. I’m not for male consumption.

Rather than simply remaining pissed at this hashtag-of-an-opportunity for sexists to practice their craft, I decided to shed some light of positivity.

I’m creating a WCW series featuring womyn activists, artists, and entertainers that are also educators of empowerment. I’m hoping with this series that other womyn are inspired to speak up towards injustices in social to political situations. We are not for male consumption.

The first of the WCW series is Bree Newsome.

Bree Newsome is a musician, an NYU filmmaker graduate, and an activist and youth organizer in North Carolina. Most people know her as the womyn who took the took down the Confederate flag.

photo courtesy of Twitter @neutralized

Earlier this summer, 9 people were massacred while attending a prayer meeting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The victims included mothers, fathers, reverends, a coach, a state senator, a recent college graduate,  a grandmother, a grandfather, and a singer. (source Buzzfeed)

What drove this shooting spree? White supremacy.

The shooter has photos of himself posing with the Confederate flag and guns. Even the night of the massacre, his car was decorated with the flag as he wore symbols from “apartheid-era South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia.” (source NPR) Mind you, this shooter isn’t the only one that has used the flag as a sign of racism. For example, the Dixiecrat party in 1948 and even the state of Georgia in 1956 used it to support segregation. The Ku Klux Klan are known to have used it too. (source PBS)

Despite this particular gruesome event, the Confederate flag still rose throughout the country … including Charleston, South Carolina.

“When we see that symbol lifted up as an emblem of hate, as a tool of hate, as an inspiration for hate, as an inspiration for violence– that symbol has to come down, that symbol must be removed from our state capitol,” said NAACP President Cornell Brooks in Charleston a few days later. (source NPR)

Bree Newsome “gathered with a small group of concerned citizens, both black and white, who represented various walks of life, spiritual beliefs, gender identities and sexual orientations” shortly after the shooting to discuss removing the Confederate flag. (source Blue Nation Review)

Newsome and her fellow activists wanted to take down the flag as “an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together.” To commemorate this message, they decided that a black womyn would make the climb and a white man would help her. They wanted to show that their “alliance transcended both racial and gender divides.” (source Blue Nation Review)

photo courtesy of abcNEWS.com

As UpWorthy puts it, the Charleston shooter was a racist coward. But Bree Newsome is the hero we desperately need.

She took the Charleston massacre as a tipping point in our country’s constant injustices towards black Americans; her fight for equality became louder than ever. “I just felt that it was very important that it be a group of citizens … who go up and bring that flag down – even if they put it back up a minute later – just to know that’s how strongly we felt about it,” she said. A few weeks later, the US House approved banning the Confederate flag at federal cemeteries and capitol grounds.(source CBS News)

It’s amazing what one person can do with bravery and a fighting heart. As Newsome put it, “It’s a calling as a human being… to fight on behalf of the oppressed.”

 – ChiChai@Empire

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  1. Pingback: Empire in the Air

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