Nov 17, 2016

Sit to Stand Up: Continung the Struggle

Taking  A Stand: The Struggle Continues

What happens when a NFL quarterback worth $10 million dollars takes a stand? Everyone has an opinion about Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit during the playing of the National Anthem. For me it's simple. I admire Kaepernick' courage and support his right to exercise his First Amendment Rights. I'm sure it was not an easy decision considering everything he has to lose. Think about the "punishments" metered out to John Carlos and Tommie Smith after their win at the 1968 Olympic Games. What about the sacrifice of Muhammed Ali, banned from boxing in his prime and the support he received from prominent Black athletes. It's easy to take a stand when you have nothing to lose.

Personally, I remember as a youngster my feelings about the National Anthem. It was "their" song, not mine. I knew it did not apply to me. Yes, I stood and sang it, respectfully. But my heart was sad and I felt my exclusion even then. Today, when I hear the anthem, I am militant and feel that, whether others like it or not, it's my flag and my country too. I'm emboldened to continue my fight to do all that I can to make Dr. King's vision of brotherhood in this country a reality.

There's so much written about Kaepernick's "sit to stand up", so I won't labor the issue. I pray that as he kneels in protest God gives him strength and guidance and that the penalty he will pay doesn't break his commitment. His decision not to vote for any of the presidential candidates caused another up roar.  But, each of us has to determine how we will contribute to our collective progress. I leave this Langston Hughes' poem for you to ponder as the struggle continues.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes.
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen",

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed-

I, too, am America.



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