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- Ex-footballer Colin Kaepernick in a message posted on Twitter denounced July Fourth as a celebration of “white supremacy.”
- “Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of ‘independence'” he wrote.
- Kaepernick defied NFL authorities to launch a wave of protests against police brutality in 2016, kneeling while the national anthem played before games.
- The NFL banned the protests, but has in the wake of the George Floyd demonstrations has backtracked.
- ‘Taking the knee’ has now become a global gesture of protest against racial injustice.
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Colin Kaepernick, the ex-football player whose NFL anti-racism kneel protests has become a global phenomenon, has denounced the Fourth of July holidays as a “celebration of white supremacy.”
In a message posted on Twitter, Kapernick wrote: “Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of ‘independence’, while you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all.”
He shared a video of actor James Earl Jones reciting Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” over images of America’s history of racial brutality, including pictures of slaves and KKK members.
The speech by the former slave, abolitionist and orator questions the hypocrisy of Americans celebrating independence while millions were enslaved in plantations.
—Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) July 4, 2020
“Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” Jones reads.
“Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” Jones continues. “… This Fourth of July is yours, not mine.”
Kaepernick’s reflections on the meaning of Independence Day celebrations follow the most sweeping US protests against racism for generations. Across the country, people have taken to the streets to protest against the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, and demand action against systemic racism.
DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images
The former San Francisco 49ers player sparked a wave of protests in the NFL in 2016. He took a knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality following several incidents in which white police officers killed Black men.
President Donald Trump called for the league to fire players who took part in the protests, and in 2018 the league banned on-field kneel protests.
Kaepernick’s kneel protest has been adopted by many of the George Floyd demonstrators worldwide, as a gesture of solidarity with the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement. In July, the NFL backtracked and admitted it had been wrong to ban the protests.
Kaepernick’s charity, The Know Your Rights Camp, has hired lawyers for people arrested during the protests, reported Sports Illustrated.
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