Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Take a Knee, Take a Stand

Editor's note: Since this blog was put to bed, a horrible mass shooting in Las Vegas has occurred. Perhaps the example of Americans taking a stand against violence is more pertinent than ever? Maybe it could even save lives? The truth is truly a revolutionary act.
Take a Knee, Take a Stand

The article links below explain the current uproar on social media surrounding the #TakeAKnee protest in the NFL that the following essayists elaborate upon:
Respecting the Flag
 Michael Sand (from Facebook)
I’ve seen a lot of posts regarding respecting the flag and what that means… and how athletes who use their public forum to voice dissent are somehow unpatriotic.  I want to offer a different opinion.

My father is buried at the foot of the flagpole in Golden Gate National Cemetery. He landed at Normandy, fought at the Battle of the Bulge and liberated Nazi camps in Germany. His enemy was fascism. I served as a Green Beret in the early 1970s (pretty sure you all know what that entails). Our enemy at the time was communism. My son is currently a serving officer in the Army, who on his dress blues wears the Bronze Star he was awarded during a year-long tour in Afghanistan. His enemy is and was the Taliban and the threat of terrorism.

Three generations of my family, serving the US, in harm's way. Three vastly different enemies, but enemies who shared one common trait. All stifle free speech. All of them bully, degrade and terrorize those who hold opposing views and who peacefully express them. All of them are intolerant and demand loyalty to the leader.

I can tell you, speaking for three generations of my family, it is precisely for men like Colin Kaepernick, and his right to peacefully protest injustice, that we were willing to serve. There is nothing more respectful of our country than living up to its ideals. There is nothing more patriotic than to say "I’m concerned with injustice, and will use my position to try and address it."

Want to know what’s unpatriotic? Using your white privilege to avoid serving, citing 'bone spurs in the heel' while playing varsity tennis at college while others went. Want to know what is antithetical to American values? Using the most powerful pulpit in the land to incite violence – against anyone. Want to define disgraceful behavior? Denigrating a man like Senator John McCain’s service and heroism while you sat home.

Want to respect the American flag? Then respect the ideals for which it stands. Bullying language and calling peaceful protesters sons of bitches who should be fired aren’t among them.

My Two Cents
Kathleen Wray (from Facebook)

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

For those who do not know, this is the Preamble of the Constitution! 

I have been pretty quiet on this whole Colin Kapernick, NFL thing but as of Friday night and the utmost heartbreak I have read on my timeline, I have decided to say my little two cents piece.

My grandfather landed on the beaches of Normandy to fight oppression. My grandfather took an oath to defend the Constitution and not just the flag. A flag is a symbol of the freedoms afforded by the Constitution! The first amendment states the "rights" and "freedoms" that we have under this so-called "God damn piece of paper."

We have the right to assemble; we have the right to speech; we have the right to practice whatever religion you want. I am tired of people missing the whole freaking point of what Colin was "protesting."

We live in 2017, where a person of color, of gender, or those of different religious practices are afraid to live here. That is not freedom (supposedly what our flag represents). Instead we have a president that has fed into the divisiveness in our country. Good job 45, you once again diverted what should be serious concerns like, health care, tax reform, climate change (PEOPLE IN  PUERTO RICO WITHOUT FOOD AND WATER FOR DAYS), and turn a national pastime into hate. Also, dear president you have internationally embarrassed us time and time again and have started a war with a crazy mother sitting in North Korea. Once again, where is your anger there?

For those that drank his Kool-Aid on Friday, I am sad. Where is your anger at Congress taking away your health care. Where is your anger, about there not being your Social Security in the future. But here you are angry at some sports figures that are taking a stand on racial and social injustices. Where is your anger about a police officer brutally beating and killing a fellow American brother or sister. Where is your anger on those that are suppose to protect and serve, overstep a line that now kills a citizen and not have any consequence. 

Ah, white privilege must feel pretty good. You'll never have to teach or talk to your kids about just walking down the street without having any fear. As long as it is
not your problem, do you feel justified in having anger with sports figures having their feelings and their voice.

So, once again, you bought into Trump's hate, and here we stand even more divided.

All People
Jade Ranier (from Facebook)

What some of you all are not understanding is our vets (living and the fallen) did not fight for a flag. They did not fight for an anthem. They fought for the people. ALL PEOPLE. 

They fought for the rights of the people. ALL PEOPLE. Colin Kaepernick is exercising his first amendment right to speak out against issues that have become a major problem in this country. He's not doing it to disrespect our military or any of the sort. He is doing it to make a very valid point. 

Police brutality is a very big problem especially among our African American communities. Some people are more upset about what Kaepernick is doing than all of the people that are being killed by police on a daily basis, and that is part of the problem. He's tired of it. He's fed up with police getting away with murder and then being put on paid leave. He's had enough and is taking a stand against it. 

People keep saying that he can protest a different way, but why? He has millions of people talking about this, about why he's doing what he is doing. That's exactly what he wanted. He wanted you to see. He wanted you to question it. You protest to make a point, to fight for something, you protest for people to hear you. And people are listening and people are watching. 

His protest is absolutely brilliant. How else would he be able to get his protest to have such an impact on millions of people? Kaepernick has an out to use his voice that a lot of people do not have. How can you be angry with someone for standing up for what they believe in, for standing up for what is right? Why are you so upset that a man is sitting down during a song? Are you not at home sitting on your couch while it plays? Do you stand every single time the anthem is played? Practice what you preach. Don't be a hypocrite.


All week long, Trump has been attacking professional athletes on Twitter, simply because they choose to use the national anthem as a way to protest against racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism in America. He’s even used soldier Pat Tillman’s death to smear the protesting football players — against the wishes of Tillman’s family. 

Today, we want to make sure these athletes — and people of color all across America know — know that we will ALWAYS kneel alongside them.

Here’s the thing: these protests are NOT about the flag, or the anthem, or those who serve in the military. Saying that Colin Kaepernick and his league mates are “protesting the anthem” is like saying the March on Washington was protesting traffic.

This movement is about fighting for justice and equality. Period. Much in the same way that a march on the U.S. Capitol is impossible to ignore, so is a mass demonstration during the national anthem of a primetime football game.

Thank you for being a continued part of our movement. We couldn’t do this without you.

In solidarity,

Democratic Socialists of America

From Color of Change:

Once again, 45 has proven that Black people are nothing more than property to him. In response, athletes and individuals around the league and our country united to fight back. Now, we’re calling on owners to reject Trump’s words by doing more than linking arms with players but actually working to protect their safety, rights, and freedoms both on and off the field.

On Friday night in Alabama, Donald Trump reaffirmed his disdain for Black people by referring to any NFL player who peacefully protests racial inequality during the pregame national anthem as a “son of a bitch” who should be forced off the field. During his rambling speech, Trump also took the time to criticize the NFL for implementing rules to promote player safety because those efforts impact his personal entertainment. This came about a week after Trump went after sports journalist Jemele Hill and tried to publicly strongarm ESPN into firing her for comments made on her personal social media.

Perhaps he was feeling emboldened by NFL buddies like Dan Snyder (Washington), Shad Khan (Jaguars), Bob McNair (Texans), Robert Kraft (Patriots), Woody Johnson (Jets) and Stan Kroenke (Rams), all of whom each contributed $1 Million to his inauguration. Kraft even gave him a Super Bowl ring. Or perhaps he had the consent of the league itself, as their marketing department contributed $100,000. Either way, Trump feels way too comfortable demanding the NFL be nothing more than a league of modern day gladiators whose sole purpose is to destroy their bodies for entertainment.

 Now it’s time for Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL owners to choose which side they’re on.

Earlier this year, a group of players and a former player, Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Bennett, Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin, met with Goodell and NFL officers to discuss the Player's Coalition's activism in their local communities. They delivered a recently publicized memo calling on the NFL to declare November a month of social activism to advance racial justice causes, including criminal justice reform, to elevate the issue in the same way the NFL does with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. The request is detailed and includes an ask for owners and league officials to attend player-led visits to local prisons and meetings with formerly incarcerated people and their family. It also makes clear that the request is not for permission but financial support and genuine collaboration.

After Trump’s Friday night tirade, several NFL owners rushed to release statements condemning his words.1 But we need action- not more words. To this day Colin Kaepernick remains blackballed by league owners, despite public acknowledgment from elite quarterbacks around the league from Cam Newton to Tom Brady that Kaepernick is more talented that numerous QBs who have jobs today. Equivocation and calls for unity from the league are no longer acceptable.

Now that several NFL owners claim to support of their players’ rights, it is time for Commissioner Goodell to declare November a “month of unity.” NFL rosters are 70% black, and the league owes it to its players to recognize the heroes who have stood up to racial intolerance in America.2 Soccer leagues around the world are working to stand up to racism;3 it is past time for the NFL to do the same. As DeMaurice Smith, the president of the players’ union, said on Saturday, “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”4

Until justice is real, 

-- Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Jade, Anika, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team.

1. "NFL Owners Are Closing Ranks Against Trump — Here's What They're Saying," Fortune, 24 September 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/9019?t=10&akid=7939%2E3399430%2Ex8sJ3z 
2. "White House doubles down on ESPN attacks, cites previous 'suspension' as reason Jemele Hill should be fired," The Undefeated, 26 April 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9020?t=12&akid=7939%2E3399430%2Ex8sJ3z 
3. "FIFA is finally stepping up its anti-racism measures in soccer," Quartz, 15 June 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9021?t=14&akid=7939%2E3399430%2Ex8sJ3 
4. DeMaurice Smith, 23 September 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9022?t=16&akid=7939%2E3399430%2Ex8sJ3z

Climate Hawks Vote

We’ve asked our members living in Puerto Rico to share their experience — Elia Cadilla wrote back the following message a few days ago and asked us to share it with you. -- Brad & RL
I am in Puerto Rico. Going through Maria was a horrible experience, but the aftermath is even worse. Bridges have collapsed or are close to doing so, apartments exploded, rivers merged with hurricane tides and covered large areas, houses included. No power anywhere: downed trees, lamp posts, power lines. I already know of people who lost ALL they had.

But neighbors are out, helping other neighbors; yesterday a crew of young people cleared our street and 2 neighboring ones from all the debris that blocked it. My son is right now taking drinking water to a friend, several miles away, who hasn't had water or power since Irma. A neighbor cooked with a little portable stove yesterday and shared it with other neighbors. Some very small areas have running water: a weak and somewhat turbid flow, but a blessing just the same.

We will not know the extent of the damages for quite some time. How many dead, homeless, jobless people are now, perhaps we won't be able to ascertain for quite some time. The state and municipal governments are very active in their efforts to help and save lives and property, but this is a task beyond present resources.

Why do so many people have to pay so much for electricity while municipal stadiums and churches get subsidies and some people pay only nominal fees? This must be revised. Why do we depend so much on fossil fuels when there are other alternatives?
We also worry because we were the center of help for Caribbean hurricane victims; we are still helping those who are here as refugees and, knowing our nature, will continue to help them as best we can, sharing whatever resources we have left.

I directed an environmental education campaign for several years. It's rather heartbreaking to see that the consequences of global warming, etc., I talked about in conferences are happening. That is one thing I wouldn't have liked to be accurate about.

Unfortunately it is what we call "crònica de una muerte anunciada", which translates to "chronicle of a death foretold."

Whoever can help, please do so.

Your fellow climate hawk,

Elia Cadilla

After months of organizing during the Summer for Progress, Our Revolution's People's Platform has more than 60 new cosponsorships in Congress, 25 of whom signed on to at least six of the eight bills included in the document. This is all thanks to more than 100 meetings and hundreds of calls you took action on, and we are not letting up now.

The People's Platform is a declaration of our progressive values. These are the same values the Democratic Party establishment must adopt if it is to represent the interests of all people, no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status, or where they live. An inclusive vision that guarantees Medicare for All, college for all, full reproductive rights for women, a $15 living wage, an end to private prisons, automatic voter registration, tax fairness, and a bold transition to sustainable energy transcends the red state-blue state divide and brings everyone together for a common purpose.

Grassroots movements must take power back from the corporate oligarchy in control of our government and offer Americans a bold, progressive vision to build a brighter future.

As Senator Bernie Sanders so often tells us, change does not come from the top down—it always comes from the bottom up. Our Revolution's efforts, along with allied grassroots organizations and supporters like you, have not only moved House Democrats to sign on to these progressive values, but Democrats as a whole. Senator Sanders' Medicare for All bill has sixteen more cosponsors than when he introduced it two years ago, and states across the country are taking action to implement the ideas enshrined in the People's Platform.

Our ideas are winning, but we cannot let up now. The forces conspiring against us—Wall Street, the fossil fuel lobby, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries—will not go quietly. Power concedes nothing without pressure, and we must be ready to overcome the stores of dark money they will pour into campaigns of disinformation and cynicism.

Change does not happen overnight, but in the last several months we have made extraordinary strides towards justice. Thank you for all that you have done to make this so.

In solidarity,

Nina Turner
Our Revolution



  1. With the horrific event in Las Vegas and the recent disaster in Puerto Rico, the GOP Congress found it an ideal time to let vital healthcare funding for the poor lapse with few people noticing. "A good day to bury bad news." :(

  2. Now's not the time to be silent and hope for the best. Now's the time to keep speaking up and taking action. Colin K. and others are good role models. We are the change we've been looking for!


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