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Why Take a Knee?

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The take a knee movement was started by NFL player Collin Kaepernick, who knelt before his third pre-season game as a response to police brutality and racial injustice in America. Since then many other athletes have begun to kneel during the anthem. Many people have opinions on the matter. Some think it is disrespecting America and veterans, while others see it as a peaceful protest against racial injustice in our Nation.

Here at Westside, our student athletes are taking a stance. Volleyball player Kylah Carter just recently started taking a knee when a volleyball idol of hers was given flack by her teammates for kneeling. “It just made me realize how important the message of taking a knee is. People are able to overlook police brutality and the racism that is still evident in America today so this is how I make sure they can’t.” She also sees the National Anthem as false, since at the time that the anthem was written, African Americans were not free.” It says ‘home of the free, home of the brave’ but that’s not accurate. Black people were still fighting for rights.”

When asked why she takes a knee Kylah says to get people to start doing something about these problems,”The Anthem is supposed to be a symbol of unification, but our country is not showing that” Helena Johnson, a basketball player at Westside believes the same thing,”We are still having some of the same problems we had 50 years ago,…”

Although some African Americans see taking a knee as a necessary step to shining a light on inequality in America, Alicia Coppedge, a track runner, still stands. Even though she believes others have a valid reason, and right, to kneel. “They have their own reasons to kneel. I personally think they should stand, just to honor those who have fought for us, but I understand why they would kneel.”

As we can see in the media, some people believe kneeling is disrespectful to our nation. For example, Mike Pence leaving the Colts game due to the NFL players kneeling, blew up in the media. Players taking a knee even garnered a response from our President saying “Courageous patriots have fought and died for our great American flag—we MUST honor and respect it!” Shaska Davis, a volleyball player, doesn’t see it this way,” My family has been in the Navy, the Marines, and the Army, so why would I disrespect my family like that? What people don’t understand is that it’s not about the soldiers, it’s about the police brutality.”

Trump’s response to taking a knee has only increased the amount of people kneeling. “The President of our country is publicly degrading a cause that he does not, and has not, made an effort to understand. Obviously the message of our movement has yet to be comprehended by our own President. He has expressed more outrage over NFL players respectfully taking a knee, then hate groups marching in Charlottesville.” says Helena Johnson.

Here at Westside we have African Americans who are kneeling, not to disrespect our Country, not to dishonor our soldiers, but to publicize the unfair treatment of Black Americans. Regardless of our personal opinions, we as Americans should respect their right to protest. That is the most American thing of all.

 

 

 

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Why Take a Knee?