Ever since President Donald Trump attacked NFL players and asked team owners to fire players who don't stand for the U.S. national anthem amid a player protest about the country's institutionalized racism, people are coming support of the players by taking a knee.
Dana Greene Jr., a graduate student of University of Michigan, took the movement a bit further and spent more than 20 hours on knee on the pavement. He kneeled at the Diag to stand in solidarity with NFL players and to protest racism.
Around 100 teachers and students joined him in the protest, who decided to take a knee with him. Several others came to him solidarity and brought food, water and yoga mats along with them.
“What Colin Kaepernick did last year, taking a knee, wasn’t to disrespect the troops. In fact, I think I’m honoring the troops right now because they gave me the right to do this. My father served in the military, and … this isn’t disrespecting the flag, this is honoring it. If black people can get killed in this country and not get any justice for their lives, for their murder, then that’s disrespecting the flag,” said Greene.
He further said, “I’ve been on this campus for five years, I did my undergraduate here and each year the campus climate has gotten worse and worse. The recent election, the man who holds the highest office the land, the president of the United States (Donald Trump), has made this issue even worse.”
He also wrote a letter to the university’s President Mark Schlissel explaining his protest.
“[Trump has] made it harder for people who look like me and people who don’t look like me to walk this campus, to feel comfortable in our own skin. I’m here to tell him and our own campus president that what we are dealing with is not OK, it’s not right. If I have to kneel here until my knees bleed, that’s what I’m going to do,” he wrote in the letter.
Greene’s father also visited him during the protest and said he was “very proud” of his son.
The move of protesting during national anthem became famous when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game and instead chose to kneel.
Although his protest was peaceful, harmless and even respectful, he received immense backlash and criticism. He was later demoted and is currently unemployed as the NFL team didn't sign him this season.
It is pertinent to note, Kaepernick’s protest started during Obama’s era, however, Trump made it all about himself.
The “take a knee” movement, which is expanding day-by-day, goes to show that Trump’s attacks on the protesters and his supporters’ defense is just making it stronger.
More and more people are coming forward and supporting the movement.
Greene’s protest also took the internet by storm and soon #WhyIKneel appeared on Twitter.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Andrew Boyers