Attention all athletes of Emporia State: take a knee during the national anthem.
Athletes across the nation are kneeling during the national anthem to show their support for #BlackLivesMatter and to help give a voice to those who don’t have one, because of the United States’ systemic racism.
The kneeling movement was started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick last year, but he was treated so brutally by the media and the people that he was blacklisted and he doesn’t have a place for this year’s season.
Some see this as righteous, because they believe that Kaepernick was “disrespecting the American flag” and “dishonoring veterans and our forefathers.”
But this simply isn’t true.
Kaepernick wasn’t “disrespecting the flag.”
He was pointing out that thousands of people of color are murdered every year, and while their bodies are left to be shamed by the media as “criminals,” their murderers are “investigated internally” and are given paid leave.
Kaepernick wasn’t “dishonoring veterans.”
He was exercising his legal, constitution given right to protest peacefully. A right fought for and defended by veterans. In reality, he was honoring their mission by exercising rights they fought for.
Kaepernick may have “dishonored our forefathers,” but that’s okay because they all stood for racist beliefs and most of them owned slaves.
As a university, we pride ourself on diversity. In fact, we have a five part plan set forth by the University Diversity and Inclusion Alliance. One of the goals is to be a model for diversity to other institutions, and it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.
If ESU is really for diversity, they will show their support for diversity, on and off the field.
It’s time that we join the national conversation and kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance.
This isn’t just for athletes, either. Spectators, the marching band and cheerleaders should all join in. Make a statement for the common good that can’t be ignored.
It’s time for ESU to be a true model of diversity, join the #BlackLivesMatter stance, take a knee and show other institutions that we support our students of color.
Because respect is a two way street.
And how can we, as a primarily white institution, ask that our students of color respect the flag of a country that does not respect them,but has in fact systematically authorized the murder of their people? We can’t. So take a knee.