Powerful post explains the “reason we kneel”
This week, Nike’s new ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick has captivated the world’s attention and spawned both boycotts and passionate support of the brand for allowing the former NFL quarterback to speak out against racial inequality and police brutality.
But for those deeply effected by the kinds of injustices Kaepernick’s working to shine a light on, the day-to-day reality doesn’t look like a Nike ad — it looks terrifying, and that’s exactly what one woman captured in a now-viral Facebook post.
Courtney D’Ashia Hamilton was driving out of a Walmart recently when she spotted a black teenage boy in a hoodie carrying a backpack. At the same time, she saw a police car — and she knew right away what was going to happen.
“We kneel because I had to roll down my window and tell that young man to take off his hood, while walking down this street in the dark,” she writes. “We kneel because I had to say that to him, because no sooner than the police passed him, I saw their break lights come on (And no, there was no traffic).”
Hamilton says she knew the officers would come back after seeing the teenage boy, and sure enough, they made a U-turn and headed toward him. Then, she saw the red and blue lights.
She writes, “We kneel, because it was necessary for me to back up, back onto the incline of the exit, and park with my hazard lights on, because I was afraid that some mother and father, who were expecting him home, were instead going to get a call that their Black son had been murdered.”
Hamilton describes the 10 minutes she spent watching the boy get patted down, his backpack full of belongings emptied into the street and left there. When it was over, she offered him a ride home.
“We kneel because as I offered the young man a ride home, he hung his head the entire time. I could see the rage,” she says. “We kneel, because when I inquired if he was ok (of course he isn’t) and what happened, he shrugged and said the reason they gave him for passing him, busting two u-turns, and coming back, was because he looked very suspicious walking down the street at night.”
“We kneel because he was harassed for no reason. The only thing that made him look, ‘suspicious,’ was the color of his skin,” says Hamilton. And then, they arrived at his home where his mother was already outside, confused as to why her son was being brought home by a stranger.
“We kneel because as he walked passed her, I introduced myself, told her what I saw, and explained, ‘I just didn’t want you to have to hear, your son was murdered, 6 blocks from home, by those sworn to protect and serve.’ We kneel, because I could see the tears she was fighting,” she says.
When people burn their Nikes and try to vilify Kaepernick they do so with exactly zero understanding of reality. That for black families, situations like Hamilton encountered are a fact of life — and they absolutely shouldn’t be. Lives are at stake, and if people can’t understand the very real reasons for kneeling, then all the more reason to keep doing it.
She concludes, “We kneel, because this is an event, that should have never happened. We kneel because our greatest fear is that we will send our Black sons and Black daughters into the world and they will never come home.”
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