Colin Kaepernick's social consciousness extends far beyond taking a knee during the national anthem. The San Franciso 49ers quarterback is making sure today's youth are equally as woke about the basic liberties and protections most Americans are deprived of each and every day.
Kaepernick hosted a "Know Your Rights Camp" in Oakland Saturday with more than 100 area kids in attendance. Over the last few months, Kaepernick made it known that he takes issue with the ill treatment of communities of color by police. In his quest for awareness, Kaep uses education as a foundation.
Kaep says the camp took about six months to coordinate, which is long before he made headlines for his silent protest of the national anthem which began a domino effect in the sports world.
The day's events included several breakout sessions covering a range of topics handpicked by Kapernick including financial success, what to do during interactions with police, college prep, nutrition, self-love and more.
I had the honor of helping out at #ColinKaepernick's first Know Your Rights Camp event yesterday. @yourrightscamp Seeing the kids interact and ask questions, along with Colin and Nessa's passion for helping our youth made the event everything it needed to be. I'm still recovering (I'm exhausted lol), so I'll end it with this: Whatever negative comments are said about this event in the news over the next few days, don't allow the media to distract you from the real message being sent to our youth - To know their rights, to respect their own and others, and to encourage self-love. If you choose to deflect and complain about motives or question, you're a part of the problem. NOTE: This post is not debatable. Please don't try and convince me otherwise. TROLLS WILL BE BLOCKED. So many gems came from this event! Full recap on my website coming soon. ❤️ A photo posted by Snapchat 👻itsmoniquedee (@allmoniquedee) on Oct 30, 2016 at 3:45pm PDT
He told The Undefeated, "You have unarmed children being murdered, and you have unarmed adults being murdered. So, it’s affected all ages of people of color, and to try to give them knowledge of how to help de-escalate those situations, even though that shouldn’t be their responsibility."
As a souvenir, the kid's walked away with a backpack, a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, plus a free certificate for DNA testing at Ancestry.com.
In addition to free food and pics with Kaepernick, the kids received a t-shirt with 10 rights printed on the back, honoring the Black Panther Party 10-point platform.
These rights were listed on the back of the t-shirts that @Kaepernick7 gave to the kids who attended his Know Your Rights Camp today. pic.twitter.com/JkRv03M4kn— Crystal Johnson (@Crystal1Johnson) October 30, 2016
And to solidify just how dedicated Kaepernick is to this cause, the event took place during bye week, a time where most NFL players are resting up or strategizing before the next big game. Kaep put in a different kind of work.
“I know what my purpose is,” Kaepernick said in an interview with Mercury News. “I know what my goal is. My conviction in that is strong enough that it doesn’t matter what anybody says because I know it’s right. And the fact that 100 kids would come out here on a Saturday morning, on their free time to do this, early in the morning, that shows that they believe in this, too.”
Earlier this year, Kaepernick announced he would donate $1 million of his earnings to underpriveleged communities. The 49ers announced separately a pledge of the same amount in aims of combating racial and socioeconomic issues in the Bay area.
Take a listen to this clip from Kaepernick's message Saturday.
Here is the opening to @Kaepernick7 "KNOW YOUR RIGHTS" event for underprivileged youth and homeless in Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco. pic.twitter.com/qn2d51OldM— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) October 29, 2016
Right on, brother.
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Throughout his entire career as an athlete, LeBron James' decisions, interests and motivations have been praised, scrutinized and met with a fair amount of criticism – no matter what the cause. As one of the most influential and successful athletes in the world, his opinions hold power and are intentionally sought out to address issues surrounding the climate of the sports world and of other ideas as well. On Monday, during a press conference for the Cleveland Cavaliers media day, James was asked a number of questions regarding the upcoming season. But, his sentiments regarding the articulation of resistance of Colin Kaepernick and the ongoing police violence and murders of black people struck a chord with many.
This season, James told reporters that he would not be taking a knee during the national anthem and also highlighted the confidence and bravery of Kaepernick's right to protest. He remarked:
"I'm all in favor of anyone, athlete or non-athlete, being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner. That's exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing, and I respect that. I think you guys know when I'm passionate about something, I speak up on it. Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do. That's who I am. That's what I believe in, but that doesn't mean I don't respect and don't agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion, and he's doing it in the most peaceful way I've ever seen someone do something."
Citing that standing for the national anthem is a part of what he believes in was worth raising a few eyebrows from some, for James has previously spoken up and demonstrated resistance towards attitudes and actions that share the same stance Kaepernick is fighting to combat. As a supporter of the movement, leading the way of igniting the NBA players outrage following the murder of Trayvon Martin and investing his money into the advancement of black students, many began to consider what the motivations were behind James' remarks. However, he soon followed up in sharing how the personal experience of being a father to his black children is tough in today's society.
"It's a scary ass situation that if my son calls me and said that he's been pulled over, that I'm not that confident that things are going to go well, that my son is going to return home."
He ended his statements by saying that in order to find answers to the issues we are facing, "we have to keep the conversation going. I'm not saying that all police are bad because they are not. I'm not saying that all kids are great and all, adults are great, because they are not. But at the end of the day, all lives do matter and it's not just about black or white. It's everyone."
As the news broke out of the NBA all star's press conference, sides were drawn as to whether James was motivated by the money or the movement with his all lives matter stance. To say that some folks were disappointed is an understatement.
That Lebron statement was like when your friend is driving and swears he knows where he's going but y'all pass the same monument three times— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) September 26, 2016
LeBron said that "not all cops are bad" & added "all lives matter." Never let ur money put a band aid over social issues. Its bigger than u— Bdell (@Bdell1014) September 26, 2016
There were also just as many willing to support LeBron for the belief that his actions have spoken louder than his words.
LeBron is one of the few "superstars" who have taken a stand against injustices in society. So to label him a sell out or coon is wrong.— IG: @ItsMikeHill (@ItsMikeHill) September 26, 2016
LeBron James just donated $41.8M to the University of Akron in Ohio, giving 1,100 kids a full 4-yr scholarship but y'all calling him a coon.— NUFF$AID (@nuffsaidNY) September 26, 2016
LeBron led the charge on the Trayvon Martin NBA protest & the fact he's been very outspoken for so long. I can't cancel him off one comment— Kodak Kaepernick (@DrTGIF) September 26, 2016
But it was the folks examining the issue from both sides who addressed the significance of accountability, and the realization that although James may have been coming from a place of peace, his statements were problematic and harmful to the movement and black folks as a whole.
it's ok to be proud of Lebron for all the positive he's done for the community. it's also ok to hold him accountable for his statements— Tatiana King Jones (@TatianaKing) September 26, 2016
We can applaud Lebron for all hes done and still criticize his statements. These aren't mutually exclusive— #BeatOKST #BeatMinny (@HumbleTeej) September 26, 2016
It is a fact that LeBron James' previous actions have proved to align with causes that the movement continues to fight to affirm. But, with his statements coming out at the same time as we watch Colin Kaepernick, a black athlete, take an unapologetically black stance to uplift black people and protest the injustice against black lives, it calls into question of how far one is willing to go and at what cost? Athletes with far less than James have sacrificed their income and livelihood to take a stand against the systemic racism and injustice of all black people and whether one believes money is the motivation or not, James' stance is a reflection of some of the ideas we are faced with everyday, from people who look like us and from those who don't. Until the validity of black lives is no longer called into question, it's our duty to fight for all of us, even those whose privilege blinds them to the fact that all lives can't matter until all black ones do too.
Do you think Lebron's comments were taken out of context? Watch the video and tell us what you think in the comments.
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Another video. Another black person lying dead in the street. Another police officer, nameless, faceless, shouting into radios, “he’s dead.” A mother feels a pang in her stomach, her ears ring a sound she’ll never hear again. Charlotte, North Carolina. Ferguson, Missouri. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And those are just the ones that make the news. The Washington Post (the paper of Watergate) keeps a running tab on who police are shooting. It seems they’re shooting more and more. And they’re fearing more than ever, too.
There have been days of protesting in Charlotte. People are fed-up. They’re tired. Day one ended in bloodshed after a man shot a protester in the head. Point blank. The crowd erupted. Social media followed suit. First, we heard that a protester shot his activist kin. Then, that it was the police. Now, finally, the truth: an assailant opened fire on Justin Carr setting off a tidal wave of rioting. The response was deafening, as usual.
What's going on
The violence feels senseless. The reactions to black people doing completely ordinary things seem absurd at best. And King Mez, a North Carolina emcee on the rise, agrees. “Unless something comes out that’s firm, hard evidence, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s actually going on,” he stated. “It doesn’t feel right to me. Especially since it’s a recurring theme.” Such a recurring theme, in fact, that the political right has readily jumped to the fantastical idea that the “mainstream media” is race-baiting, so ready liberals are to suit up for a racial holy war. How arbitrary those folks would rather do some magical thinking than deal with the reality: African-Americans, Latinos, and other POC are disproportionately affected by policing strategies that value escalation.
“That’s the thing that frustrates me, too,” says Mez. “People are always talking to us like we’re crazy like we’re supposed to be beyond this. I don’t even see how that makes any sense. We’re still dealing with this to this day.” His voice rises and falls in waves. You can feel the tension in it. His fear. Fear that all our lives are up for grabs in this free-for-all of a situation. We hit them with #BlackLivesMatter. Some argue that we’re separatists. We hate America. We want this discord, and, most disturbingly, that we deserve it.
The narrative of race
The narrative is a simple one. "Brown people commit the most crime, they argue. Of course, they’re the ones we should watch the closest." But these institutions have given themselves away. For, if you’re watching us as closely as you say you are, then it stands to reason that you could be stacking the deck. Who's watching the folks this media narrative presupposes is not committing a crime? And, the kicker, who is watching you? The examples of oversight are almost too numerous to claim. In June of 2015, an officer approached a young, black woman in a parking lot in Austin, Texas. The resulting exchange went viral. The officer body slammed her and generally acted the fool. She was arrested and placed in the back of another cruiser where she asked the question on everyone’s mind. The officer replied that blacks had “violent tendencies.” He elaborated, “Ninety-nine percent of the time … it is the black community that is being violent. That’s why a lot of white people are afraid. And I don’t blame them.”
I do. These narratives are costing us our lives. But what King Mez wants to know is where are the artists that are willing to speak out about these issues? “As an artist, I feel like I’m excited to do the things I can do with this art to make things better. But I’m really disappointed in anybody who ain’t using everything they have to make this sh*t better,” he notes. “I’m disappointed in the artists who won’t use their voice.” There are a few that are.
The artful protest
Some of the best musical output this year has been "protest" records. Jamila Woods Heavn and NoName’s Telefone are exuberant, somber redresses to bigotry. Colin Kaepernick’s silent kneeling during the National Anthem inspires both an image of prayer and of defiance. And Charlotte, too, has been artfully protesting. Through curfews and state emergencies, they’ve marched.
Even now that partial viewings of the dashcam and body camera videos of police officers involved in the shooting were released, still they march. Because, despite the rhetoric, protesting is an act of love. It’s a peaceful reminder that people matter. Mez wants to show that, as well. And he understands how hip-hop’s influence can shape the world. “Hip-hop is the most influential culture in the world. Even pop music sounds like hip-hop. Hip-hop culture influences the whole world. All we have to do to be together, but people’s minds are on so many other things,” says Mez. “It’s so much bigger than me. It’s so much bigger than my career. I’m so passionate about this.” With everything going on in his home state, how else could he be?
The Last Question
Blavity: Is there anything you do for self-care? It can be hard to watch all the media around this stuff.
King Mez: I’m going to be honest with you. It’s hard for me to watch [the videos] all the time. I definitely don’t like to see, but I honestly, in some instances, force myself to watch it. I want to feel those emotions. [That] will directly affect my art, directly affect the way I carry myself and the decisions I choose to make. What a lot of people don’t even realize is at this point all the decisions you make as a black man you’re not just making for you. You’re making them for everyone. You’re making them for the culture. As an artist, it’s not just about you anymore. It’s about everyone.
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The NBA preseason starts October 1st, and many are wondering if the national anthem protest by players will spill over into the basketball season. The NBA has long had a rule that players must stand for the national anthem. Before Colin Kaepernick there was Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. During the 1995-1996 NBA season, the $13 million contract-extension player told his coaches the he would no longer stand for the national anthem. Without much notice at first, Abdul-Rauf suffered no consequences for his actions based on his religious beliefs. On March 10, 1996 that all changed. Having previously been called anti-patriotic because of his stance which took place after the Oklahoma bombings, during the March 10th game Abdul-Rauf decided to sit in the middle of the anthem and the rest is history. The NBA suspended him for one game and decided that he had to stand but could pray silently in his hand while standing. Abdul-Rafur's career suffered a great blow and he never rebounded from it.
With more and more black people becoming target practice for police departments, professional sports leagues are having to find a way to respond to the way players protest. The NFL has had a tough time figuring out what to do and who to collect a check from when it comes to enforcing the stand. The NBA has decided to take a proactive approach to whatever stance and protest strategies their players may have. CBS Sports reports: "To that end, the NBA is looking to not merely deal with the aftermath of whatever protests or statements the players might make regarding these issues, but is working to actually foster a conversation in advance so that the league can support the players, but also so that it can try and prevent incidents that could harm their image or sponsor relationships."
It seems as though the NBA is willing to have a conversation about it but isn't willing to risk their image or sponsorships, so they want to get ahead of it. Coaches have stated they plan on talking to their players in the locker room about matters of this nature, and the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a letter to players.
NBA & NBPA have sent the players a joint letter announcing they are working together on... https://t.co/iWsctLWRLZ pic.twitter.com/YVjJ8sy9Kg— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) September 22, 2016
As the conversation gets started in the NBA about how to handle players potentially breaking a rule that very much still exist, it will be interesting to see who is willing to take a knee or keep standing.
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When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, people rioted against this seemingly flagrant act of disrespect. People were angry. A national controversy and conversation erupted. Many asked that he be kicked off the team. Some even went as far as to send death threats.
Apparently to "patriots," you cannot mess with America and the National Anthem or the old red, white and blue.
22 days after Kaepernick knelt, an officer’s bullet pierced through Terence Crutcher. A father of four, innocent and unarmed, Black man died that day. That same crowd fell silent.
Those seem people were not angry. Those same people did not call for the officer to be fired. The national outcry and controversy rests solely on the shoulders of those who can be the next hashtag.
Crutcher died in the same country that demands he stand up and be grateful for his freedoms only to strip him of his humanity when the song stops playing.
Kaepernick said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL media after the game, "to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Those that opposed the Kaepernick protest, yet remain silent about the treatment of black people in this country, are American hypocrisy personified. The lack of outcry for Crutcher’s murder from the same group who had so much to say about Kaepernicks’s protest is the exact reason why the kneeling movement is spreading.
How can we take pride in a country that does not recognize us as more valuable that a song and a flag?
What black people want most in this country is to be seen as equal and human. Remaining silent about the treatment of actual people but shaking the table over the treatment of symbols of freedom is how we end up with one hashtag after another. There are too many stories with similar circumstances. The black experience with police in this country is not some collective folk tale.
An innocent man taking a bullet should ignite more outrage, more disruption, and more change than any supposed disrespect of a song and flag. The lack of outcry shows that some Americans place more value on protecting symbols of freedom than doing the work to make those freedoms a reality for all citizens.
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Sunday, the Carolina Panthers took on the San Francisco 49ers. But more importantly, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick came face-to-face. Over the past few weeks, both quarterbacks have been under the microscope for different reasons. Kaepernick, for using his platform to protest injustice, and Newton for playing the fence.
That's why their latest photo op went viral. There they were: Newton with his towel and Kaepernick with his afro picked by God himself. There's no way Black Twitter was going to let this moment pass.
There was a question that needed to be answered.
I REALLY want to know what was said between Cam and Kaepernick in that picture
— Martin LubeHer King (@PrinceBama) September 18, 2016
This was the most obvious scenario.
Cam: "Why didn't you stand up for the flag?"
Kaepernick: "Why didn't you dive for the ball" pic.twitter.com/er3vhnn0d1
— Briantelevision1 (@BrianHudson718) September 18, 2016
But maybe they were debating something else?
cam newton: all lives ma--
colin kaepernick: boy if you don't get pic.twitter.com/3i1P2hRpJg
— hobbes. (@pettyflocko) September 19, 2016
Colin: Harambe was just a gorilla
Cam: #ColinKaepernick #CamNewton pic.twitter.com/3kH1bKQXpz
— BrifodesYT (@brifodes1) September 19, 2016
Kaep: A hot dog isn't a sandwhich..
Cam: SQUARE UP pic.twitter.com/vJKnKv5qxo
— TRÏBĒ ĀLÏVĘ (@TribalThrasher) September 18, 2016
It could have been old school trash-talk.
Cam: Oh you think you one bad motha.."
Kap: Shut yo trap, sucka! Just keep on shuckin and jivin for the man. pic.twitter.com/gIGX0BGnn3
— Richie Loco (@Richie_l0c0) September 18, 2016
"I was born Black, I live Black and I'm prob gonna die BECAUSE I'm Black, cause some cracker who knows I'm Black..." pic.twitter.com/wTVLlR1yas
— Cold Grits (@JamilahLemieux) September 19, 2016
Cam: now they won't dab with me, look what you've started.
Colin:You one jiiiive turkey,it's Shame how they use you pic.twitter.com/nGa764TwU9
— Shea Butter Papi (@Scream_MALCOLM) September 19, 2016
In the end, it was only a matter of time before somebody gave it the main event treatment it deserves.
Cam Newton v Colin Kaepernick pic.twitter.com/1d7FtZJcIf
— Bre (@bre_88) September 19, 2016
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With Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest gaining more traction and the NBA season right around corner, some wonder if the protest will carry to the hardwood. Just a few days ago, Oklahoma City Thunder player Victor Oladipo said he thought some NBA players will follow suit. Now, Cleveland Cavaliers star Iman Shumpert says that he’s kneeling for the anthem in his newest track, “His Story."
Shumpert’s been in hip-hop for a couple years now and to see him be a professional NBA player and an artist taking a kneel for justice does my heart well. Premiered on KarenCivil the 3-minute track has Shumpert getting personal with some of the news stories he’s been in. In the last verse of the track though, Shumpert makes it known “you best believe I’m going to take me a knee for the anthem." Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but this opens the door to how the NBA will react when the season starts. With Kaepernick receiving a polarizing response not just from the media, but from the people and league itself, it’ll be interesting to see what happens come October when the defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers open against the New York Knicks.
You can stream "His Story" below.
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Football season has kicked off in a major way this year. With San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick unabashedly leading the way in articulating his resistance to police brutality and the social injustice against black lives, several other members of the NFL payroll have also followed suit– some with some hefty consequences. Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, took a knee as the national anthem was played during Thursday evening's primetime game against the Carolina Panthers. In an interview following the game, he explained his stance and told reporters,“I’m against social injustice. I’m not against the military, the police or America at all. I’m against social injustice."
Despite Marshall's explanation and freedom to exercise his first amendment right, his actions led to the termination of two endorsements. The first coming from the Air Academy Federal Credit Union, who denounced Marshall as one of their ambassadors and released a statement saying, "AAFCU is a membership-based organization who has proudly served the military community for over 60 years. While we respect Brandon’s right of expression, his actions are not a representation of our organization and membership. We wish Brandon well on his future endeavors."
Most recently, the global communications company, CenturyLink terminated their agreement with Marshall and explained their reasons saying, "While we acknowledge Brandon's right, we also believe that whatever issues we face, we also occasionally must stand together to show our allegiance to our common bond as a nation. In our view, the national anthem is one of those moments."
When was the "occasional" moment that these companies took a stand, in defense of black lives?
While Marshall doesn't seem to be phased by the unfortunate Ls he's been forced to reconcile with or the tyrants that have taken to social media to berate his choices, the precedent being set by companies and organizations terminating endorsement contracts with athletes is not to be taken lightly.
Making the choice to stand by a particular company and it's organizational standards is one thing, but as an American and a black man, Marshall is entitled to stand by his own opinions as well. When CenturyLink and AACFU made the choice to terminate a connection to Marshall because of his views, it not only showed that while they respect his views, his opinions aren't significant enough to stand by and reveals their unwillingness to join the movement in defense of black lives. It reiterates the price tags put on black bodies, deeming them just worthy enough, if they subscribe to particular ideals and practices that don't deviate from what is considered right and justified under the veil of the American flag.
No longer will players and athletes stand by and pledge allegiance to an anthem or a flag or a nation that does not seek or practice equal justice for all. No longer will corporate money silence the voices that are courageous enough to speak up and speak out. For as Marshall pointed out,
"This movement is something special. People are going to bash me on social media but at the end of the day I’m going to go home and sleep peacefully knowing what I did was right. I will not lose any sleep.”
Moving forward, the Denver Broncos linebacker has already revealed that he will be taking a knee at his next game on Sunday and is joining his former University of Nevada teammate, Colin Kaepernick to develop ways to better alleviate and make better solutions for eradicating the tensions between police and black people. A meeting with Denver police Chief Robert White, set to take place on Tuesday is just one of the first steps on his mission to do so.
I've been given the chance to meet with the Denver police chief tomorrow.. If you have any questions you'd like to have answered
— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshh54) September 13, 2016
What do you think of athletes losing their endorsements due to their political or social views? Is it justified? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Colin Kaepernick has spawned a movement amongst his NFL peers and many other athletes. The protest of the national anthem and the flag has been polarizing to say the least. It seems as though everybody, to varying degrees, has picked a side. And many of our faves are falling from grace like flies.
But Charles Woodson is not one of them.
Full 4 minute clip of Charles Woodson making SO MUCH sense about why he supports the protests in the NFL pic.twitter.com/tLL16HEqH6
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 12, 2016
The legendary cornerback/safety-turned-NFL-Countdown-host/winemaker has some thoughts about the matter that make a lot of sense – and mirror much of the community. There is no right (or wrong) time to peacefully protest or exercise our freedom of speech. And the anthem that our country holds to be so sacred isn't exactly singing the praises of people who look like us. Colin Kaepernick and anyone else using the very rights that military men and women give their lives to protect should be respected at all times, right?
People immediately weighed in.
Charles Woodson kept it 1000 🙌🏽
— Wavy Bone Jr (@Jerm_T_Smith) September 12, 2016
Charles Woodson ✊🏿
— Nick Jones Jr. (@njfuture) September 12, 2016
@ShaunKing Yes. It's so sad that most don't get it...well stay tuned, you will.
— Da Way Eye See It (@JocelynBooze1) September 12, 2016
And although the dissension doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, it's important that we're having the conversation at all. All we can hope is that this will lead to a much deeper cultural understanding for everyone about what it means to be black in America.
But it's safe to say that when Trent Dilfer started talking, we were all Randy Moss.
Look at how Randy Moss is looking at Trent Dilfer. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/LrQbVfmKlc
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) September 11, 2016
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