In a nation built by slaves and immigrants and yet founded on the principles of liberty, freedom and justice for all, we have reached a point where taking a stand is our only option. In 2016, NFL player Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem as a silent protest against police brutality and racial injustice. The 29-year-old professional athlete exercised his first amendment right by kneeling for himself and those who do not have a voice or platform to do so.
In reaction to Kaepernick's position, many did not agree with or fully understand the meaning behind it. Fast forward to this season when players from several NFL teams, including the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins, took knees during the anthem. Unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump tweeted out in response, "Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag," and "The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!" Comments from Latinos surrounding the National Anthem protests took over social media, which featured mixed feelings on the topic as a whole. As a Latinx publication, we are here to educate the public with information on conversational topics. We've rounded up reasons why Latinos all over should take a knee and join the movement.
Latinos share deep roots with African Americans.
On Twitter one follower, Ms.McKinnon, posted, "I don't believe Latinos recognize they're African descent roots which is why they automatically disconnect from the topic. Educating ourselves on our background and race is liberating and insightful during times like these."
If you're an Afro-Latinx, your struggle is linked.
Even for those who aren't Afro-Latino or Afro-Latina, our struggles are still interlinked, and that should be enough to ignite the fire from within to want to dismantle social injustice. The social structures that identify African Americans and Latinos as inferior to the white race have been reproduced for centuries, and have slowly begun to change because of nonviolent protests.
Police are unjustly killing Latinos too.
According to the LA Times, "over the last five years in L.A. County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino." Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist, Dior Vargas, said " We should also show our allyship on these issues because some Latinos have privileges which prevents these things from happening to our community at the same frequency and severity that Black people experience. The anti-blackness in the Latino community needs to stop. We cannot show respect to a flag that is representative of the injustices that this country is based upon. The mental health of communities of color are of the utmost importance and we have to show solidarity and support one another."
It honors our 1st Amendment right: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This includes postings on social media, those taking a kneel, and others speaking out. Latina celebrity Adrienne Balion shared her reasoning on the matter below. One follower who goes by, @natninety agreed with the post saying, "We can’t be standing for something that is going completely against all of our 1st Amendment Rights. Freedom of speech has been taken to a new level and is being backlashed by a bully behind a keyboard on Twitter. Instead of seeing different sides he (Trump) continues to be a radical leader and putting down those who truly care about this country and its people, no matter religion, ethnicity or status in this country. This is another way for him to create a divide in this country instead of trying to mend all other things broken in this country as well as fire away at other leaders and create more bans. "
President Trump has yet to show a clear action plan for the natural disasters that have directly affected our people in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
While he is too busy tweeting around the kneeling movement, many Puerto Ricans - who are Americans - are still suffering.The 45th President of the United States of America tweeted about Puerto Rico twice, once Maria hit and once the day after. During a press conference, the former businessman stated “Puerto Rico was absolutely obliterated,” he said. “Puerto Rico got hit with winds they say they’ve never seen winds like this anywhere, got hit with a five, category five hurricane which literally never happens. So Puerto Rico is in very very tough shape. Their electrical grid is destroyed. It wasn’t in good shape to start off with. But their electrical grid is totally destroyed. And so many other things.” He has yet to formally show an action plan to support the devastating conditions of the isla. As Americans, we should take a knee as a protest against injustice around helping our neighbors in Puerto Rico.
We are the Ceaser Chavez's, Dolores Huerta's, and Joan Baez's of today's era.
Activism is acknowledging an injustice and making a social change which will impact future generations. Just like Dolores Huerta and Caeser Chavez—who started by fighting for farmworkers and ended up creating a movement via the United Farm Workers organization—and Joan Baez who used her music to speak out against injustice --- you too have the power to speak out.