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She left the flagpole in handcuffs. Now artists reimagine her as a superhero.

South Carolina residents and state officials are in a bitter debate over the Confederate flag. With protesters and lawmakers on the ground arguing over what the flag stands for and where it should fly, one woman decided to do something about it.

She left the flagpole in handcuffs. Now artists reimagine her as a superhero.

Activist, filmmaker, musician, and superhero-in-training Bree Newsome was tired of asking for the Confederate flag to come down.

On June 27, 2015, she scaled the 30-foot flagpole in front of the South Carolina State House and took the flag down herself.


All GIFs from The Tribe.



While onlookers cheered, the police were waiting for Bree and her climbing partner down below.

Even though the flag was returned just moments after Bree was taken away in handcuffs, her job was done. Shero status activated. In that moment, Bree Newsome was transformed from activist to a symbol of inspiration and racial justice.

What would inspire a seemingly ordinary woman to do something so extraordinary? Sadly, it took a tragedy.

The Confederate flag controversy isn't new, but the June 2015 Charleston shooting was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Confederate flag was minding its own business, blowing in the breeze over the South Carolina capitol grounds, when the breaking news came in. Nine people had been shot and killed in a historic black church in Charleston. 21-year-old Dylann Roof was quickly arrested and confessed to the horrific shooting. Many speculated the attack was a racially motivated hate crime, while others argued he must be "mentally ill." But it was the discovery of Dylann's own racist manifesto and creepy selfie collection that took the conversation in a new direction.


It's hard to argue the Confederate flag just stands for "heritage and pride" when a self-proclaimed racist and confessed murder wears it proudly. In response, protests and marches have sprung up across South Carolina, calling for the flag to be removed from the state capitol. Bree Newsome was just the first person to do something about it.

The Charleston shooter was a racist coward. But Bree Newsome is the hero we desperately need. And now there's tons of fan art to prove it.


http://migslovesyou.tumblr.com/post/122629681874/you-come-against-me-with-hatred-repression-and

http://eiloser.tumblr.com/post/122639508425/thank-you-bree-newsome


image by Quinn McGowan



Learn more about Bree Newsome and her activism on her website and support her legal defense fund here.

In the meantime, can someone get started on Bree T-shirts, action figures, and a live-action movie? We'll be waiting.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Tod Perry

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