You may remember Walter “Hawk” Newsome. If the name is unfamiliar, he’s the Black Lives Matter activist who spoke at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., in September.
The reaction to his speech at the event was overwhelmingly positive in the media. It was portrayed as an example of two seemingly polar opposite sides finding some common ground during a time of extreme division in our nation.
There was, however, a segment of the population that had a real problem with what Newsome did that day — the people on his own side.
‘Tokenized by white supremacists’
Where Newsome and much of the nation saw a moment of productive unity, members of Black Lives Matter and other affiliated organizations saw what amounted to “treason.”
“What Hawk and [Black Lives Matter of Greater New York] did in one photo-op was dismantle a lot of the work that our groups have been doing for f***ing years,” activist Kimberly Ortiz of NYC Shut It Down said back in September.
Others shared Ortiz’s feelings.
“He has done a lot of work with us,” Chris Valencia, an activist for Hoods 4 Justice, said to Vice News. “It’s unfortunate that somebody who is very well educated [and] could represent the community from a more radical perspective had to stoop to being tokenized by white supremacists.”
Despite being labeled a traitor by many Black Lives Matter activists and chapters, and being accused of “normalizing” white supremacists, Newsome doesn’t regret his decision to speak at the Trump rally that day.
“I’m not going to just give those people over to Trump without a fight,” Newsome told Vice News. “I’m truly sorry that I let people down. But this isn’t the first idea that I’ve had that was a break from the norm where people didn’t see the vision initially, but then were able to understand what I was doing later.”
(H/T Vice News)