Singer Leah Tysse took a knee this week at the new Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Arena. Tysse was singing the national anthem when she knelt on the court near the end of her solo performance.
"I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans. I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability."
Tysse, a breast cancer survivor, is one of many to have joined the protest for civil rights for black Americans as athletes of all ages and even a marching band have taken a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner" this year. The singer is the first person documented joining Kaepernick’s protest while actually singing the anthem, which has its own complicated history with slavery and black oppression.
Tysse knelt to the court on live television as she reached the lyric “the land of the free,” to cheers from the crowd.
Tysse’s passionate social media post echoed her message of equality and justice:
“Whether or not you can see if from your vantage point, there is a deep system of institutionalized racism in America, from everyday discrimination to disproportionate incarceration of people of color to people losing their lives at the hands of the police simply for being black. This is not who we claim to be as a nation. It is wrong and I won't stand for it.”
The Kings themselves did not kneel, but locked arms in solidarity throughout Leah Tysse’s protest performance.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @CSNAuthentic