Can protesting racism be considered both a good and bad thing? That is what quarterback and American football player Colin Kaepernick is dealing with as he has experienced both praise and criticism for his decision to not stand before NFL games begin when the national anthem is performed. Colin’s protest, against the oppression of black people and racism in the United States, has fueled a conversation as well as an example for other athletes which include student players.
Kaepernick wanted to project his activism by focusing on young people and followed through with this by last weekend holding the first Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) in Oakland, California for dozens of nearby Latino and black children. The one-day camp was held on October 29th and zeroed in on awareness of a person’s rights and on ways to bypass racist bias as well as strategies regarding empowerment such as education, personal finance and health.
New York Daily News columnist Shaun King went with his son to the camp and quoted Kaepernick who said, “We’re going to give you knowledge on policing history, what the systems of policing in America were based on, and we’re also going to teach you skills to make sure you always make it home safely.”
King also said that the camp centered on the philosophy of ten fundamental rights which he says was influenced by the 10-point program of the Black Panthers. Kaepernick and other speakers taught to the children these rights as well as being printed on the camp’s t-shirt. The ten rights are:
1. You have the right to be free.
2. You have the right to be educated.
3. You have the right to be healthy.
4. You have the right to be trusted.
5. You have the right to be brilliant.
6. You have the right to be alive.
7. You have the right to be safe.
8. You have the right to be courageous.
9. You have the right to be loved.
10. You have the right to know your rights.
King said that Colin wants to go around the country in order to present this event to those who wish to attend. The quarterback also expressed to King that he did not want the sponsors to interfere, so he decided to refrain from taking any sponsorships.
As a form of parting gift for the children once the camp reached its’ conclusion, they were given the choice to have their DNA tested in order to see their ancestry at no cost. Kaepernick addressed the children before leaving left by saying that, “I want you to know… where you came from before slavery, before this oppression that we are experiencing, before police brutality. “You had thousands of years of rich history, and I want you to know your roots with that history.”