What Will You Do?
What is there to celebrate about the history of America? It being founded on stealing the land from the native inhabitants? It developed its wealth and power based on the enslavement of Black people? The invasions of Mexico and many other countries in the Caribbean and South America? What is there to celebrate in what America does today? The way women are subjected to disrespect and brutality? The massive deportation raids that tear families apart and disappear people? The wars for empire that devastate countries and force people to flee their homelands? America is not now and never was great! Kaepernick took a heroic stand when he said he wasn’t going to show pride in this country while the bodies of Black people killed by police pile up in the streets.
What about you?
Kaepernick put a lot on the line in making this stand. Sports figures who have refused to go along with enforced patriotism and worship of America in the past have paid a heavy toll. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing championship when he refused induction into the U.S. army because he saw that the real enemy of Black people was in this country, not the poor people in Vietnam fighting to free their country. For taking this stand, they stripped him of his heavyweight boxing championship, which cost him millions of dollars he could have earned. Even knowing this, Kaepernick said, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
The killing will not stop just because people tweet about it, or because they grumble about it when yet another video of a modern-day lynching by police hits the news. People have to put themselves on the line. Even when the risk is great. I learned this 46 years ago when I refused to go to Vietnam and kill for this country. I was sentenced to two years in military prison for this, but I kept my humanity—and helped stop a genocidal war.
Colin Kaepernick saw the video of the police murder of Alton Sterling. In response, he said: “This is what lynchings look like in 2016! Another murder in the streets because the color of a man’s skin, at the hands of the people who they say will protect us. When will they be held accountable?” And he took a bold stand to stop this from happening again and again. You have seen the videos of police gunning people down, beating them to death, tasing and choking them to death. What are YOU going to do? What are YOU going to put on the line to stop this genocide?
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?