By Samantha McKenzie
I love Colin Kaepernick and it has nothing to do with football. I could care less if he ever played the sport again. I love him the way I love Nelson Mandela. The way I love Malcolm X. And the way I love Angela Davis.
I love him because he took a stand for something he believed in. I love him in the same way I love Muhammad Ali and Assata Shakur. And the way I love Dr. King. The same way I love Pope Francis and Mother Teresa. I love him like I love Black Lives Matter protesters and Harriet Tubman.
I love him because we all watched him take a very small, silent protest against injustice, and then we sat back and watched him deal with the very large public scrutiny. I love how he pushed forward in spite of the acute criticism, despite losing his job and disappointing his fan base. I love him because while he’s building a foundation to protect people’s rights and feeding the elderly, we’re debating whether or not we will attend football games this season.
I love Mr. Kaepernick because he has conviction. Let’s face it, not everyone believes in something. I love also that he stood by his convictions and that even when he was being called unpatriotic, he poured his own money into causes that proved he was more patriotic than most.
I love too, that he didn’t do it for the fame or the notoriety. He was already famous. I love that he made a gesture – like not pledging allegiance to a flag that doesn’t always live up to its symbolic nature – and that that gesture sparked an upset among sports fans — because athletic arenas are the end all to expressing our love for this country? right? *scratches head*
I love him because I love people who are willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves. And because I love the freedom I am afforded to protest and to rebel against any and everything that stifles my freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
I love him and those before him who wanted more for humanity and who gave their resources – even their lives – to usher in a brighter future. And I love the newborns who are going to one day add onto this long list of freedom fighters.
I love Colin the way I love every citizen, at home and abroad, who is willing to protest against injustice, in any form, against any type of person or group, for even the smallest of violations and inequities.
I love the students at Tiananmen Square.
I love Geronimo and the Native Americans.
I love Nat Turner and the slave rebellions.
I love all of those who fought for freedom and whose names were never recorded. I love their sacrifice and their spirit.
I love Mahatma and Kasturba Gandhi.
I love unions.
I love Frederick Douglas.
I love Sojourner Truth.
I love Fidel Castro.
I love Lucretia Mott.
I love the resisters.
Love the resistance.