Ever since Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel in an NFL preseason game about three years ago, his mission has been the same. He wants to promote social justice to ensure there is equality for black and brown people. This mission no doubt cost him his NFL career, but perhaps made him this era’s Muhammad Ali.
Recently, Nike decided that its “Fourth of July” red and white Air Max 1 would be pulled and not sold to retailers. The reason behind the decision was Colin Kaepernick, who reportedly called Nike to tell them how the design of the Betsy Ross flag was offensive to many due to its historical significance and ties to slavery.
In 2018, when Nike decided to publicly back Colin Kaepernick, they agreed that he was a force that cannot be denied. Kaepernick is proving that despite the conclusion of his suit against the NFL, his contract with Nike, and the countless awards he has received, the fight is still on. Colin is proving once again, where his heart and his mind is focused.
Personally, I have felt a significant emphasis in the past five years for Black folks to cancel this federal and national holiday, known as Independence Day. The reason is simple: we as blacks were not independent during the time America received her Independence. In the minds of many blacks, including myself, our Independence Day was June 17, better known as Juneteenth.
Our protest against the 4th of July holiday comes from the fact that we are celebrating 1776, a time when blacks weren’t free. We say Independence, but it was Independence for some not all. We should celebrate an Independence when we all were free. Right now, America still doesn’t have true Independence because not all are free, especially when we have children detained in inhumane environments separated from their families.
This year, on the 4th of July, I will celebrate Colin Kaepernick and African-Americans like him who are a constant reminder to us that the fight continues. Colin reminded us that even the smallest form of social injustice towards black or brown people should be called out.
Some people wonder why you would make a deal about the flag on a shoe. The big deal is what the flag symbolizes. The flag represents a time in American history that we should not have to relive.
For those of you upset about Colin and Nike pulling the shoe because you feel it is some type of disrespect to America. I encourage you to read these words from James Baldwin:
“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
Colin reminded us that our, disagreement with the Betsy Ross is rooted in its symbolism of a period in America where slavery was the way of the land. The flag supported the oppression against people that America denied their humanity and their right to exist.
This July 4th, we celebrate those who are still fighting for the day when we can truly celebrate and honor Independence for all.