The Precedent

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Peaceful protests are part of our fabric


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Imagine standing in your driveway, being forcefully interrogated by police. You reach for your cell phone, unclear of the situation and desperately attempting to reach out to someone for help. The police feel threatened and unaware of what you are reaching for, so they shoot – five times to be exact.

Days later they drop all charges against you, all because of a fatal assumption – you look like a bad guy, so you must be a bad guy.Your life was over before you even got the chance to defend it.

Seems unfair? This is what unarmed, 23-year-old Keith Childress encountered on Dec. 31, 2015, as well as the countless other African Americans that deal with racial injustice throughout their community.

In Aug. of 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick – fed up with headlines of unarmed African American men being killed by police – used his platform as a professional athlete and sat during the playing of National Anthem in a pre-season game with Green Bay.

When asked about it, Kaepernick told reporters that he has “to stand up for people who are being oppressed.” The protest soon changed to kneeling – in an attempt to find a more respectful way to protest – and the rest of the League, and the nation, took notice.

Kneeling for the National Anthem is an outlet for stars, actors, celebrities, and civilians to display their protest of police brutality and racial injustice to the public.

Kaepernick transformed his personal views on police violence and inequality in the black community into a worldwide movement. By kneeling, he used his celebrity to draw attention to a cause, which began a communal protest throughout America.

“Standing up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color should not be encouraged,” he stated to reporters.

Kneeling is a peaceful protest that does not affect the community in a forceful or dominant manner; it simply kick-starts conversation and raises awareness for an important issue.

Not standing for the National Anthem is a legal form of protest, which is a fabric of the First Amendment. Instead of causing riots or other forms of chaotic rebellion, kneeling is a peaceful way of displaying your movement or cause.

The First Amendment protects our right to speak out freely on personal beliefs, which prevents lawmakers from creating any law that prohibits freedom of speech or the right to peacefully assemble in protest.
Kaepernick created an international movement by kneeling in objection towards the racial injustice and police brutality in America.

Kneeling for the National Anthem is much more than just an attention-grabbing protest; it helps raise awareness and build a safer community for those affected by police brutality and racial inequality.

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The student voice of Perry High School
Peaceful protests are part of our fabric