This One Tweet Brilliantly Responds To Critics Of Bree Newsome

June 30th 2015

Over the weekend, an activist named Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot flagpole on South Carolina state grounds to remove the Confederate flag that millions have repudiated following the racially-charged shooting at a historic Black Church in Charleston. Once Newsome descended, however, she was arrested and the flag was hoisted back up.

“We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer,” Newsome said in statement to the press. “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.”


Though some argued the flag is a symbol of heritage and that Newsome shouldn't be praised for breaking the law, the civil rights activist and media commentator Linda Sarsour summed up the significance of Newsome's move in one tweet:

Sarsour also tweeted the following:

Sarsour's remark about justifiable law defiance brings to mind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," that the civil rights activist was inspired to write in 1963 when he was arrested for coordinating actions against segregation.

"How does one determine when a law is just or unjust?" Dr. King wrote. "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law ... We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal.' It was 'illegal' to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers."

Dr. King added that we have "not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

Newsome's act of civil disobedience comes after more than 500,000 people signed a petition to have the Confederate Flag removed from Statehouse grounds and #TakeDowntheFlag went viral on social media. Gov Nikki Haley went on to show support for getting rid of the flag, but that still requires two-thirds approval from the state legislature.


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