Police killed 1,147 individuals in 2017. African Americans were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population. Out of all people to look up to in the world in recent times, Colin Kaepernick is an individual that stands out more than most. Kaepernick is a professional quarterback who is heavily involved with the community and works to fight oppression of all kinds through education and social activism. He is a true leader and social activist that gave up everything to fight for just causes, defends those with no voice while helping his community, and peacefully protests against abuses of power.
Colin Kaepernick started his career by receiving a scholarship to play football at the University of Nevada. After college, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. During the 2016 preseason and after witnessing the growing civil unrest and police brutality in America, Kaepernick chose to not stand for the national anthem as a form of silent protest. When asked why he wouldn’t stand for the national anthem, he 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. 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”. Shortly after Kaepernick’s protests, it came to light that football teams were blacklisting him. According to Mike Freeman in March 2017, Bleacher Report’s lead NFL writer, “roughly 70% of NFL teams are unwilling to sign Kaepernick not because they don’t believe he can play, but as punishment for expressing his political beliefs”.
Being excluded from the National Football League wasn’t enough to deter Colin Kaepernick from being socially conscious and doing everything he can to help communities. Kaepernick is an individual who seeks to help and defend those less fortunate or those with no voice. He has sought to help marginalized communities thrive and fight for them no matter the cost. Kaepernick founded and funded the countrywide “Know Your Rights” campaign, a program to empower young people in their community and teach them ways to interact with law enforcement along with self-empowerment and motivation. He also recently completed his Million Dollar Pledge, where he donated $1 million of his money to 37 separate organizations fighting for justice. Furthermore, he got together 31 of his friends to match his donations and raised almost an extra $400,000 for such organizations to continue their work in the communities.
Social activism and assisting troubled communities go hand in hand. Whenever one goes against the norm and tries to fight for what they believe is right, there are always those who are quick to judge and demonize because they simply don’t understand.