Bree Newsome, the North Carolina woman who on Saturday removed the Confederate flag from its pole in front of the South Carolina State Capitol, released her first statement since her arrest.
“The morning after the Charleston Massacre, I realized I had been shaken to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising," she wrote in the four-page statement
, titled "Now is the time for true courage."
Newsome scaled the flagpole in a climber's harness early in the morning. When told to come down by authorities, she continued to the top, removed the flag, and was arrested without resistance.
Newsome says she discussed the flag with fellow activists shortly after nine people were murdered in a Charleston church. They decided to remove the flag immediately, calling it "an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together."
The flag, she wrote, "is the banner of racial intimidation and fear whose popularity seems to expand whenever black Americans appear to be making gains economically and politically in this country.”
“This is not, never has been and never should be just about one woman. This action required collective courage just as this movement requires collective courage," she added, thanking supporters who flocked to social media to champion her action.
The statement also details Newsome's history of Moral Monday activism in Raleigh.