Finding Freedom Through Whatever Means Necessary
By Caleb Owens
Protesting the National Anthem has become a movement. NFL ratings are down, PapaJohns sales are down, but no one is worried about why NFL players knelt down. America is showing its true colors at the moment. Unfortunately, black and brown lives weren’t part of the color wheel. Colin Kaepernick took the media and America by storm by restoring the practice of peaceful protest during the National Anthem as many sports stars have demonstrated in the past. (Remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 summer Olympics?)
Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and Sam Dubose, are black lives unjustly murdered by police. When I say their names, their stories reign through my head.They were given the death penalty without committing any crimes. They were only guilty of being a black face in the wrong place. These names fuel the entire movement. Black lives lost at the expense of the phrase, “I feared for my life,” has become a normality in America.
Colin started a movement that can’t be broken. Athletes from every part of the sports chain- professional, amature, highschool, college, clubs, etc.- are joining in and demonstrating that Black Lives Matter. People are tired of being afraid of those who are sworn in to protect the innocent. Since he started his movement last year, jobs have been lost, suspensions have been given out, and threats have been dished out, but it’s all about the bigger picture.
“But You’re being disrespectful.” The innocent black and brown lives lost by police brutality are constantly overlooked because the people against the protest want to call it disrespectful. What is disrespectful about standing against lives being taken away solely based on their blackness. “But what about the troops?” It was never about the veterans, the troops, the flag, or the anthem itself. It’s about being seen in a spotlight and taking a stand. The NFL field was perfect to demonstrate that because of how many viewers it gets. The audience who sees this protest needs to ask the question , “ Why are they kneeling?” That’s the first step. Questioning. The second step is to be willing to find answers.
Look, America is a place where freedom is embraced not shunned or pushed to the side. We have to embrace our right to protest against something or someone. Bland, Gray, Garner, Brown,Rice and Dubose deserve justice and it’s up to the people to find it and show that something has to change in order for the system to correct itself. It’s not time to give up and forget the lives lost and let it happen all over again. It’s time to shed a light on it and demonstrate what it means to protest.