Bree Newsome, the Charlotte activist who captured the nation’s attention last month when she took down the Confederate flag that flies over the South Carolina State House grounds, said Thursday she won’t return to Columbia to see it come down for good.
The S.C. House voted early Thursday to remove the flag, with many saying it has come to symbolize hatred and racism. It could come down as early as Friday.
In a text to the Observer, Newsome said she won’t attend.
“I think my presence would only be a distraction at a time when the focus should be on SC and what that state intends to do to combat white supremacist ideology and end the legacy of hate,” she wrote.
Newsome, a field organizer for Ignite NC and a member of a loose-knit Charlotte coalition known as The Tribe, scaled the flagpole on June 27. She was accompanied by James “Jimmy” Tyson, a Charlotte environmental activist who helped her over the fence and stood at the base of the flagpole. Both are charged with defacing state property, a misdemeanor that carries penalties of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. A trial date has been set for July 27.