A crowdfunding campaign for the woman who took down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday raised more than $84,000 in 11 hours. About 3,200 people had donated to the Indiegogo page "Bail For Bree Newsome" as of 10 p.m. Saturday, and the total continued climbing.
Credo Action started the fund to collect bail money for Brittany "Bree" Newsome and her accomplice James Tyson, both of whom were arrested at the Capitol. Newsome donned climbing gear to scale the flagpole and remove the controversial Confederate flag, which flies by law on state grounds in South Carolina. After the stunt, she and Tyson were charged with defacing a monument, CNN reported. The flag was quickly put back up.
Their actions went viral, inspiring a Twitter trending topic and attention from people like filmmaker Michael Moore and New York first lady Chirlane McCray. Progressive nonprofit ColorOfChange started circulating a petition calling for prosecutors to drop the charges.
Newsome and Tyson, both 30 and of Charlotte, North Carolina, paid their $3,000 bonds Saturday afternoon. They could face possible fines of $5,000 and prison terms of three years, USA Today reported. The Indiegogo proceeds are intended to cover their expenses.
The Confederate flag has been at the center of a contentious debate since last week's shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Gov. Nikki Haley has joined several politicians in calling for the flag’s removal from state grounds, but only the Legislature can order its takedown.
"We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day," Newsome said in a statement. "It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality."
The buzz over the Confederate flag has also extended to landmarks named after Confederate leaders, including at least 188 public schools nationwide, the Washington Post reported. Some local politicians have begun calling for them to be renamed.