Dear Colin Kaepernick,
You are an American hero. Take your place beside Ida B Wells, Malcolm and Muhammed Ali. As your courage shines light on inequity, your words call us to enact the America of our dreams. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, by kneeling, you stood for the highest ideals of our country. We are a nation who defends freedom of speech and expression and justice for all. As such, it is the responsibility of all citizens to champion your cause or at minimum respect your right to protest. The wave of sanctioned violence against our young black men and women had to be addressed. By taking your platform to comment on the issue you met this wave with equivalent force, an action that cost you your livelihood but earned the respect of the people and all of our honored ancestors.
A true patriot exemplifies the principles on which his/her home nation is founded. It is the irony of America’s foundation that necessitates your protest and fuels the subsequent backlash. A country that advertised religious freedom and access to opportunity, created its wealth by brutally enslaving those precious souls who birthed humanity. The land we covet was stolen by decimating the original inhabitants. We mask centuries of bloody trauma with the facade of Kardashian icons, while opioids deaths and anxiety prescriptions rise. The system that pronounced a black man 3/5’s a man for tax benefit, is the same system that our police men and women and our teen age boys and girls are born into. In large part we are still segregated and the ethos is to balm intergeneration pain with shopping and ego sex, and anything competitive: sports, careers, money.
In America football like the money it produces is a religion, a Sunday ritual like the Gladiator sports of Rome. By kneeling during the anthem you questioned the capitalist’s Golden God and all the pageantry that it takes to uphold it. You exposed the farce of media driven identity for what it is: a lie agreed upon. Is a million US dollars valuable, to be sought after, to be cherished as somehow representative of our SOUL’S worth, when the bills are printed on felt that is no longer backed up by gold? You brought a mirror before us and begged the question, what does it mean to be an American? What are our deepest values? How do we want our children’s children to remember us? When media stereotypes portray black people in a certain light, education systems ignore Africa as the source of human achievement, and religious institutions maintain white male privilege. It’s not hard to see why police officers and black youth alike degrade the value of a black life. Each one teach one my brotha. Live proud knowing that your actions last year were a continuation of a long history of marginalized men and women paying the price for the redemption of America’s soul. I respect you; I honor you always.
Blessings in the New Year,
Jamil S Gordon
Black lives matter, as all lives matter. America’s history to date has yet to honor this truth for those of darker hue. And it is the truth that shall set us free. It is the truth that is protecting you now and will prosper you and yours in ways that the NFL could never afford you. If we can be a blessing to your next phase in life, reach out. We at onthescenemagazine.com support you.