In 2016,Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the SF 49ers began to kneel during the pre-game National Anthem as a sign of protest over police brutality. In an interview addressing this action, Kaepernick raised his concern that police officers are not being held accountable for using deadly force. Kaepernick asserts, “People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right.”
Kaepernick continues to say, “There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. To make those standards higher. You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist.” In these statements, Kaepernick does not deny that police have a difficult job, but does assert that the government has not instituted a training system for these officers that is on par with other professions. Because of this lack of training, personal fears and biases lead to the unjust murder of black individuals including
…and more. These were the martyrs of the Black Lives Matter movement. Through the deaths of these and other individuals, the flaws in our police system were exposed. Kaepernick kneeled at the flag to make certain that these people, were not forgotten. He did this as a reminder that life, liberty, and justice was not being upheld for all.
Since that time, Kaepernick has been cut from his team and essentially banned from the NFL. Since he is not playing football, Kaepernick has invested himself in the KnowYourRights Camp, fully funding the organization, and has recently teamed with other celebrities to raise $1M through his #10for10 campaign. With this money, Kaepernick has been supporting organizations working in oppressed communities.
In early January of this year, the Washington Post published an article that reviewed the trend in police shootings over the past few years and had this to say: “While many of the year-to-year patterns remain consistent, the number of unarmed black males killed in 2017 declined from two years ago. Last year, police killed 19, a figure tracking closely with the 17 killed in 2016. In 2015, police shot and killed 36 unarmed black males.”
I stand with Kap and I support the Black Lives Matter movement. It takes noise, and it takes people willing to make others uncomfortable to force a necessary issue into the public eye. According to the stats published by the Washington Post, the issue is still present, but is trending in the right direction. It will take continued effort, increased accountability and a lot more noise to get to where we need to go as a society. Personally, I am glad that some are willing to make the effort.
February 4, 2018 (Super Bowl Sunday)
Washington Post Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/nationwide-police-shot-and-killed-nearly-1000-people-in-2017/2018/01/04/4eed5f34-e4e9-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html?utm_term=.174b66819a9f
KnowYourRights Camp: http://knowyourrightscamp.com/