Aug. 14, 2016, the first NFL preseason game is set to begin. The announcer says, “Will everyone rise for the National Anthem.” Every father, mother, child and player rises except for one: Colin Kaepernick. In that moment Kap refused to die! He decided to take a stand against police brutality.

After the game, Kaepernick said he could not stand for the National Anthem because he would not support a country that oppressed people of color. Today he is no longer employed as an NFL quarterback.

It has been said that NFL owners blackballed Kap, and the main reason he does not have a job is his protest. Kap knew protesting could cost him his job, but he still took a stand. Athletes in all sports have defended him and even have joined the National Anthem protest (including a white NFL player).

There has even been a protest to help Kaepernick get his job back, but what’s important is why Kaepernick is protesting.

Kap’s protest is not about desecrating the flag as Jim Brown claims. Kap is fighting to make the flag fly higher than ever. To reach this height, police brutality must end; Kap wants our nation to see this. To end police brutality and injustice (or bring attention to it) we must hold everyone—institutions, governments, police officers—accountable for their actions.

America has failed to live up to the standards of liberty, justice and equality for all. Today people in marginalized groups continue to be oppressed.

According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, at least 309 black people were killed by police officers in 2016.  Black people are also three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Crime is not always the issue either. In 2014, fewer than one in three black people killed by police in America were suspected of a violent crime and allegedly armed.

We can’t wait for oppression to end on its own. If we wait and

do nothing, victim’s such as Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and 12-year-old Tamir Rice will continue to be murdered.

Kap kneels for the victims of the oppression he calls attention to. If you still don’t believe in Kaepernick’s protest or don’t believe injustice still plagues America, then listen to this story: 16-year old Kalief Browder was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. He spent three years in prison at Rikers Island waiting to prove his innocence. Browder was denied trial, abused and held in solitary confinement. His incarceration was nearly a death sentence.

According to Browder, a guard told him once (when he was contemplating suicide) to “go ahead and jump; you got it ready, right, go ahead and jump.” 

On May 29, 2013, at 20 years old Browder was released from prison. Though he was free, he was never the same. On June 6, 2015, Browder committed suicide.

People wonder why Colin Kaepernick protested the National Anthem. It’s because of what people of color go through. We are degraded and destroyed constantly. Every day our parents fear we will be killed or imprisoned.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”

Be like Colin Kaepernick and refuse to die. Fight when no one else will. Take action to make the world a better place.

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