In a world given to self-interest, self-promotion and devastating cruelty, it is heartening to know that there are still giants who remind us of the goodness and principle our species is capable of. Colin Kaepernick, about whom I have written previously, is one such exemplar.
Time magazine reports that Kaepernick has won Amnesty International's highest award:
Amnesty International, the global human rights organization, gave Kaepernick its highest honor — the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award — in Amsterdam on Saturday. Past winners of the award, which “celebrates individuals and groups who speak out for justice,” include former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, the education activist from Pakistan who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, and rock group U2.The former footballer's words are stirring and convey a brave truth that no state, however repressive, can ever really suppress:
The organization recognized Kaepernick for his protest against police violence: his action, kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games, sparked a movement replicated across America and the world, starting a debate about free speech and patriotism that was inflamed by the President of the United States, one of Kaepernick’s most relentless critics.
“This is an award I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” Kaepernick said in statement released by Amnesty International. “To quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, ‘will join in with anyone — I don’t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,’ I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence.
“While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people,” said Kaepernick. His former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick during the anthem — and remains unsigned as a free agent this NFL offseason — presented Kaepernick with the award.
God forbid we ever forget that resistance in its many forms is something to be admired, embraced and emulated.