Five Lessons Black Girls Can Learn From Real Life Supershero Bree Newsome

by C. Imani Williams

Brittany Ann Byuraium “Bree” Newsome, made a heroic effort by climbing the flagpole at the South Carolina statehouse and removing the racist confederate flag. In fact, 37-year-old Newsome who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina made a Supershero move. The black filmmaker and activist moved past legislators tarrying on the vote, who have taken centuries to decide if Black people had endured enough hurt. They took much too long for Newsome and countless others forced to live with the flag, and its glaring painful history in plain view. She climbed for us, beating the government to the punch and gifting life lessons to black girls on being fearless and beautiful. Bree's climb, her arrest, and her illustration in superhero gear across social media, all help in making her a real life Black Supershero.

Here are five lessons black girls can learn from Bree Newsome.

1. Black Girls Can Do Anything
The biggest lesson Bree Newsome has given Black girls, is that they can do anything. Her climb tells us, “we have what it takes inside to be fearless.” There are no limits. Bree Newsome showed black girls what “direct-action” looks like. Her actions open doors to the power of imagination, creativity, and dreaming. The light in the eyes of children should remain bright as long as possible. Truth is, with consistent love and guidance black girls can do anything and everything. When it comes to freedom, we have to choose wisely and be fearless. Newsome gifted girls everywhere with a “You can do it, too” attitude. Adults should be mindful not to limit future Supersheros girls with negative talk of what they can't do. Confidence is everything.

2. Black Girls Can Fly
As Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot flagpole wearing all black, her natural locs blowing in the early morning South Carolina breeze, I felt empowered. I felt her soaring, flying above all the things holding Black women and girls back. As Bree climbed, I saw the lies we believe but shouldn't—that say we aren't yet worthy as American citizens. I also saw our truths, things like Michelle Obama turning the stuffy White House into a welcoming space where blackness is celebrated, unapologetically. I saw an everyday sister doing the unthinkable, feeding four kids on half the money and making it over. I see us doing what must be done, as usual. Watching Bree Newsome climb, I imagined her taking us higher and higher. It made me feel powerful, in celebration of us.

3. Keeping Faith and Standing Strong in our Beliefs is Imperative
Bree Newsome taught black girls about faith. She knew she would be arrested and she was prepared. As she made her descent down the flag pole with armed law enforcement awaiting her, Newsome chanted the Lord's Prayer. As an activist, Newsome is used to making hard decisions that some people don't agree with. Newsome believed that her job was to remove the flag, and she believed she would be protected, even in jail. The take-away for black girls: there are consequences for our actions, but if the cause is strong enough and we give our all trusting things will be okay, things will work for our Highest good.

4. Help Will Be There When We Need It
Bree Newsome had the help of a lot of people as she planned and executed her mission. Some of those helpers were not black. Fellow activist James Ian Tyson, a white man, served as spotter as Newsome climbed and was arrested alongside her when she touched ground. Film director Michael Moore tweeted his willingness to assist with legal fees in order to #FreeBree. Help comes in many forms and we have to be open to receiving it. If the heart of the giver is sincere in intention, we're good.

5. Trust Our Voice
Bree showed black girls how to believe in our inner-voice. It is a gift that we can use in moments of uncertainty. Our inner-voice comes from the whispers of ancestors, a reminder of sage wisdom scribbled in the margins of old photos, and within our inner-being. That special voice wills us to be strong in our blackness and fierce in our womanhood.

Bree Newsome's act of courage will go down in Herstory as an intentional act of civil disobedience. A modern day protest. Black women are at the forefront. We're the strongest, yet most disrespected people on the planet. Let the courage of Bree Newsome serve as a reminder, that we are fierce warrior womyn. Our villages need us representing strong everyday. May black girls everywhere know, they are worthy and that supershero magic and revolution is an idea that black women carry in our hearts.

Photo: Rebecca Cohen

C. Imani Williams, is a freelance writer and human justice activist. She holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and a Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University. Her work has been published in Between the Lines, Tucson Weekly, The Michigan Citizen, Harlem Times, and with various popular culture, health, news blogs and magazines. She is a regular contributor with For Harriet.

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