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Indybay Feature
Wed Oct 19 2016
Standing Up Against the Racist Police State by Taking a Knee
Wed Oct 19 2016
NFL Quarterback Kaepernick Inspires Resistance to Mindless Nationalism at Athletic Events
Since August 26, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to sit and then kneel during the playing of the national anthem to protest racist police violence, at least dozens of more Black people have been murdered by the police. What is also intensifying is that more and more athletes are taking a visible stand against police brutality, including in the National Football League, the most popular sport in the U.S., which is more than 70 percent Black.

As dozens of athletes across the country are joining 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his national anthem protest, one group of young protestors has grabbed the nation’s attention. Students at the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) have been particularly vocal about their opposition to a lack of police accountability and the unfair treatment of Black and Brown people at the hands of law enforcement.

Joseph Thomas tells a related story from his childhood: I can’t remember now if it was elementary or Jr. High School, but Way Back In The Day I was sent home for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. There had been some incident in the Dirty South; a lynching, shooting, bombing, or incident of voter disenfranchisement or other discrimination, and I had had enough. Ordinarily, being sent home from school would usually mean “Wait until your Father gets home,” which meant I was in for corporal punishment.... I could tell he wasn’t as angry as I expected him to be. He asked for my explanation. I said something about “civil rights.” Having marched on Market Street some years earlier to support voting rights and/or protest another lynching, Pops conceded I had a point, one of the handful of times he admitted I was right.

It's Way Past Time To End Militarism | photoKaepernick ‘effect’ grows with every police atrocity | photoOakland High Schoolers Join Kaepernick in National Anthem Protest | Veterans for Peace thank Colin Kaepernick
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