MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Years ago, BuzzFlash used to present a "Wings of Justice" award every week to a person who had undertaken a recent act of valor. Although those awards are no longer granted, the "wings of justice" have certainly continued to soar in this country, through the acts of fearless individuals and communities.
Bree Newsome, for example, certainly merits recognition for her wings of justice: On June 27, she literally rose to the occasion, climbing a flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol to take down the emblem of the slave states.
As the South Carolina legislature procrastinates in voting to remove the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the capitol, Newsome's courageous act is a shining light in the state in which nine worshippers were murdered at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, by a man driven by white supremacy.
With a fierce determination, Newsome accomplished her goal by making her way up the 30-foot flag pole, ignoring the bellowing calls of capitol police to halt her action, while declaring her just cause: "In the name of Jesus, this flag has to come down.… We come against hatred, oppression and violence." It was an ennobling and inspirational feat.
Newsome, who was raised in Maryland and attended New York University, last year revealed her personal sense of resistance, according to The Washington Post:
"For as long as I can remember, I just became aware that simply being myself was an act of defiance," she said during a panel at Atlanta’s Spelman College in 2014. "The space that exists for many of us, as a young black girl, is so extremely limited so that you really can’t go very far without being an activist, without being in defiance of something."
The Baltimore Sun reported that Newsome sent out an email to the media around the time of her action on Saturday:
"We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day," the statement said. "It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality."
The Confederate Flag was raised up again on the grounds of South Carolina capitol within an hour of Newsome's post-descent arrest. Yet Newsome showed that one bold individual - along with an active community of resistance - can accomplish what a reluctant state legislative body has failed to do for years.
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