'I Was Thinking About My Ancestors': Takiyah Thompson On Taking Down Confederate Statue
Takiyah Thompson, the activist that helped topple a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, spoke to Democracy Now about her involvement, Donald Trump, and more.
There’s a number of topics Thompson and Democracy Now’s Juan González and Amy Goodman discusses, which can be read below.
Why Thompson participated in the rally:
I participated in a march and a rally. And I decided to climb to the top of the Confederate soldiers statue and put the rope around its neck and throw the rope down to the crowd. And the crowd could decide if they wanted to pull it down or not. And I did this because the statue is a symbol of nationalism, and it’s a symbol of White nationalism. And the type of White nationalism I’m talking about is the type of White nationalism that is sending me death threats on Facebook. I’m talking about the type of White nationalist that, you know, has killed a woman in a protest. We’re talking about the type of White nationalism that would drive a car at high speeds into a crowd of women and children. And I think vestiges of that, and I think anything that emboldens those people and anything that gives those people pride, needs to be crushed in the same way that they want to crush Black people and the other groups that they target.
Thompson on why she was arrested and promoting resistance:
The sheriff, [Mike] Andrews, and the establishment want to make a political prisoner of me, and they want to make an example of me. And they want to scare people and they want to scare Black people, and they want to scare people of color, and they want to scare people who are reclaiming their agency. And they can’t, as we have seen. I haven’t been keeping up with the headlines, but listening to the headlines from today, you can’t keep your foot on people’s neck forever. And people are going to rise up, as we’re seeing throughout this country. We’re seeing the rise of White nationalism, and we’re seeing the rise of actual resistance. And I’m not talking about writing your senator. I’m not talking about casting a ballot in a voting booth. I’m talking about voting with your actions. And people are doing that right now.
On Bree Newsome, the black woman who removed a Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina state Capitol:
…I was thinking about the history of like black nationalist organizing and black nationalist struggle and black struggle, and I was thinking about my ancestors, and included in that is Bree Newsome. I could not have—you know, she created a model of possibility for me. And I was thinking about her. I was thinking about people who believe in people’s power and the power that they have within themselves. I was thinking about people like Kwame Ture. I was thinking about people like Ella Baker, organizers, grassroots people, who give power to the people and let them decide.
Read the entire interview here.