By: Tamia Haythorne
Being able to express how you feel about certain situations is freedom of speech. I feel that as long as you are not using freedom of speech harmfully, you can speak out as you please. A peaceful protest such as kneeling for the National Anthem is about standing up for what you believe in, well in this case, kneeling for what you believe in.
Kneeling for the National Anthem has nothing to do with the sacrifice that our nation’s veterans have made for this country. The act of kneeling is because people feel like racism is still happening. For example, police brutality has expanded due to racism. Colin Kaepernick spoke out about police brutality and said, “There are bodies in the street, people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”(“Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons.” ProConorg Headlines, www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005323.)
Too many people are being affected by police brutality. Something needs to be done about situations like police brutality. In addition to the people that are dying, it also has had a huge impact on families. The year of 2017 has had a huge rate of killings. There have been 1,147 killings due to police brutality, 149 of those people were unarmed, and 25% were black. 14 days out of the year had no killings.(“2017 Police Violence Report.” 2017 Police Violence Report, policeviolencereport.org/.)
They are using freedom of expression. The 49ers said, “We recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in the celebration of the National Anthem.”(“Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons.” ProConorg Headlines, www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005323.) It is not required to stand for the National Anthem; nowhere does it say you have to stand. Kneeling is an act of speaking out for what they believe in. The 1st Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the rights of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition for a redress of grievances.”
In conclusion, kneeling for the national anthem is an act of free speech. It has nothing to do with the sacrifice that our nation’s veterans have made for this country. Colin Kaepernick is using freedom of expression, recognizing the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in the National Anthem. Kaepernick feels that to many black people are dying due to police brutality. I feel as though he is right about what he is saying and how he feels. Many black people lost their lives due to police brutality and Kaepernick kneeling is only the first step of helping and trying to change it.