Hawk Newsome is a co-founder and chairperson of the Black Lives Matter New York Chapter. In a recent interview on Fox News, host Martha MacCallum questioned Newsome about whether he thinks violence is necessary in some situations, saying she’d heard him say things like that in other interviews. She also asked what Black Lives Matter hopes to achieve.
As part of the interview, Newsome explained to MacCallum that what he was saying in one of the interviews she was asking about was, “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking … figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation.”
Newsome said Black Lives Matter’s goal is to preserve lives, not to ambush police.
Newsome’s response elicited a tweet from President Trump who called it, “Treason, Sedition, and Insurrection!”
Black Lives Matter leader states, “If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it”. This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2020
While Trump’s tweet refers to a portion of Newsome’s interview, the conversation between Newsome and MacCallum had more context when watched in its entirety.
He told Fox News, “Let’s observe the history of the 1960s, when black people were rioting, we had the highest growth in wealth, in property ownership. Think about the last few weeks since we started protesting. There have been eight cops fired across the country.
“I don’t condone nor do I condemn rioting, but I’m just telling you what I observed.”
Here is what you need to know about Hawk Newsome:
1. Hawk Newsome Dropped out of High School But Went on to Get a Law Degree & is Now ‘at the Forefront of the New Civil Rights Movement’
According to Newsome’s Black Lives Matter Bio he was raised in the Bronx in a Christian household. The bio says that Newsome “succumbed to the temptations of his environment and dropped out of high school,” but got back on track “with the love and support of his family, mentors and athletic ability he was able to push forward and obtain a GED, Bachelors of Science, and law degree.”
The bio says he is now “at the forefront of the New Civil Rights Movement. He has dedicated his adult life to the betterment of his community & our nation as a whole.”
Newsome, whose real name is Walter, earned his law degree from Howard University Law School in Washington, DC and has gone on to use his knowledge of the law toward his activism because he said while protests are good, “changing laws is better,” according to Bloomberg Law.
Newsome helped write “The Black Act”, which is a path to legislation at both the state and federal levels that would fight racism by making changes in policy in policing, the prison system, education, and housing. The document calls for canceling rent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for a $14 trillion wealth transfer to descendants of slaves in order to help keep the country from “splitting into separate and unequal societies.”
2. Newsome’s Parents Met at a Civil Rights Protest in the 1960s & His Sister is Also a Co-Founder of the New York Chapter of Black Lives Matter
Newsome, 43, told Bloomberg his parents met at a civil rights protest, so he “was brought up to have a revolutionary heart.”
His sister, Chivona R. Newsome, 36, is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Chapter in New York. She is currently running for election to the U.S. House to represent New York’s 15th Congressional District.
Hawk Newsome has also run for office after he finished law school, according to his BLM bio. Newsome ran for New York City Council to represent the Bronx, but only got 3% of the vote. He told Bloomberg his platform was “too radical.”
3. The Trayvon Martin Case Was a Turning Point for Newsome
Newsome told Bloomberg that he knew he wanted to be a lawyer, but after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by so-called neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in court for killing Martin. Martin was walking, unarmed, through a neighborhood when approached by Zimmerman, and Zimmerman won the court case with a self-defense plea. That court decision shaped Newsome’s life goals while he was working on his Jurist Doctorate at Touro Law School in Long Island, NY.
The Trayvon Martin case was also the catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Each time a Black person has been killed unjustly at the hands of police, or anyone else, and is not held accountable, it has only strengthened Newsome’s resolve to work toward societal reforms.
After the Department of Justice decided not to press charges against the officer who killed a Black man, Eric Garner, by putting him in a chokehold when he was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes, Newsome was involved with the family through Black Lives Matter, according to the New York Daily News.
— HAWK NEWSOME 🧢 (@IamHawkNewsome) May 31, 2020
After the decision not to prosecute the officer, he told the NYDaily News, “I’m taking my anger and putting it into this movement. I might be sad for a moment but I’m going to continue to fight. Each time we get knocked down we fight harder.”
4. Newsome’s Fox Interview Also Talked About Jesus, The Second Amendment and the Hypocrisy of America
When MacCallum asked Newsome about his allusions to violence as a means to bring about change, he said America has historically used violence to bring about change.
Wearing a trucker-style that read, “Soul Not For Sale,” Newsome said, “Wow, it’s interesting that you would pose that question like that because this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution, what’s our diplomacy across the globe? We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent is extremely hypocritical.”
Newsome also alluded to the double standard on white people owning guns vs. Black people owning guns. He told MacCallum that he would think they (Fox News) would be applauding him for his views on the Second Amendment saying, “you guys are huge supporters of the Second Amendment,” but not when it comes to Black people arming themselves.
“We talk about uplifting and upholding the Second Amendment but it seems to be the hypocrisy of America that when Black people start talking about arming themselves and defending themselves, [that] talk is ‘violent’. But when white people grab assault rifles and go to our nation’s, their state capitals, it’s all good.”
Finally, Newsome spoke about his love for the “Lord and my Lord and savior. Jesus Christ is the most famous Black radical revolutionary in history. And he was treated just like Dr. King. He was arrested on occasion and he was also crucified or assassinated. This is what happens to Black activists. We are killed by the government.”
Newsome ended the interview clarifying his stance, saying, “I just want Black liberation and Black sovereignty, by any means necessary.”
Newsome Called Fox Viewers PeKKKerwoods on Twitter
I think the peKKKerwood Fox News viewers are a bit upset pic.twitter.com/BUcL3lRVC4
— HAWK NEWSOME 🧢 (@IamHawkNewsome) June 25, 2020
President Trump isn’t the only one tweeting about Newsome’s Fox interivew. Newsome received at least one racist tweet that he shared, writing, “I think the peKKKerwood Fox News viewers are a bit upset.”
Another Twitter user called Newsome a racist opportunist, saying, “Damned straight we’re upset. You’re a thug. Your organization is racist. Your rhetoric is racist and is meant to strike terror in people of all colors. You care nothing about the dead. You are an opportunist willing to harm anyone of any color who doesn’t give you what you want.”
And another said that Jesus taught love while Newsome is preaching violence.
I think the language is harsh however for a lover of Jesus you sure do promote a lot of violence. Jesus did those things you mention however he always did it in a loving way. Jesus taught with love you are teaching violence
— sheila (@JorkolSheila) June 25, 2020
Yet, others supported Newsome’s stance.
I saw that interview. I loved how you were assertive when she tried to cut you off, your 2nd amendment point was terrific and as a Christian, I loved what you said about Jesus. 🖤
— linda ruiz (@mrslindaruiz) June 25, 2020
Over on Trump’s Twitter Feed, there was support and disdain for Newsome’s comments and the President’s interpretation of them.
— the scientific realm 🧬 (@scientificrealm) June 25, 2020
Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome said those words out of genuine frustration and anger over generations of African American enslavement, abuse, exploitation, and murder. That’s not Treason, Sedition, Insurrection! That’s freedom of expression under the First Amendment.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 25, 2020
SQUASH THESE TERRORISTS LIKE A BUG!!!!
The law is on our side!
— TheHuBLife (@GeneralDilley) June 25, 2020
READ NEXT: Kevin Piner, Jesse Moore & James Gilmore: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know