A huge part of my calling in life is to tell stories of injustice that simply aren’t being told anywhere else. That’s why over the past few weeks I’ve come on here to talk about the young Beaumont Bulls football team or Deborah Danner and Renee Davis – two women struggling with mental illness who were shot and killed by police last month. Those stories need to be told and need to be known if their families are going to have any chance of justice.
But today I have some good news I want to share.
This weekend my 10 year old son and I traveled to Oakland, California to support San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he hosted a camp for Bay Area kids ages 10-18 called the “I Know My Rights Camp” and it was an absolutely beautiful experience. And it was beautiful for at least 3 reasons.
First and foremost, I saw Colin Kaepernick operating in his higher purpose in life. I sincerely think the brother has found his calling. Football is his profession. It’s what he does to make a living. It’s a skill he has developed, but I sincerely believe that his calling in life is and will continue to be as a brave leader for our children and youth. In him, I saw a free man. His eyes were free. His spirit was free. His energy was free. I know freedom when I see it and it was encouraging to my own soul to see another brother walking in it. He his doing what he has been called to do.
Secondly, the camp itself was a major success. It gathered hundreds of kids from throughout Oakland, and San Francisco, and Richmond California to not only teach them what their rights are with police and the criminal justice system, but to teach them essential lessons about history, about their health, about their finances, and about their education. The kids who showed up all showed up to see and hear Colin Kaepernick and he knew that. The brother literally took photos with every single person in the building. But it was not a Colin Kaepernick festival. He brought in experts to teach the kids essential life lessons and skills to help them succeed and thrive and they were willing, in huge part, to listen because Colin Kaepernick asked them to.
Lastly, and this is great news, Colin announced his dream to eventually host these camps in cities all across the country. It’s a major undertaking, but I wanna tell you what I know. He didn’t hire an event firm to do all the work for him. The brother literally helped find the speakers, design the t-shirts, and when I spoke with him the night before the event at 1am, he was up late packing the giveaway backpacks for the kids. The man cares. I’m excited for these camps to start in other cities because our kids need to learn these lessons and our schools damn sure aren’t teaching them.
I wanna close this morning with this story. At the very end of the camp, Colin got on the mic to share something very personal that he had never shared before. After giving the kids a familiar narrative on how black history began thousands of years before slavery, thousands of years before police brutality and hashtags of our sisters and brothers were shared on social media, he told them how being adopted as a child, by a white family who soon moved from Milwaukee to California, had caused him to know little more than the fact that he was from Milwaukee. That was the beginning and end of his history until he decided to do an Ancestry DNA test where he discovered that his lineage stretched back to Ghana and Nigeria and he said for the first time in his life he had a deep personal connection that stretched far beyond his birth in Milwaukee.
And then he announced to the kids that he had arranged for every child in the room that have their ancestry DNA tests done so that they could experience what he had experienced, but at a much younger age. It was powerful and I can’t wait to hear how it impacts the kids as they begin getting their results back.
And my final thought is this – when people ask you, what is Colin Kaepernick doing other than taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner – let them know that he is inspiring and changing the lives of young people – first in his hometown, but soon, all over the country.
Colin Kaepernick Is Doing Much More Than Taking A Knee was originally published on blackamericaweb.com