In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
When Colin Kaepernick first began his protest of the national anthem during the NFL preseason to take a stand against police brutality, one of the main arguments against him were strawman calls to action. “All this talk and symbolism is one thing, but what will he actually do?” his detractors accused.
With Saturday’s “Know Your Rights” camp, Kaepernick continued to show that he’s in this for the long haul.
“I told myself that if I was going to do this type of work, that I was going to actually do it myself,” Kaepernick told the New York Daily News.
Shaun King reported that Kaep has been planning the event for the past two months, with hopes to offer more camps around the country. His team the San Francisco 49ers were on a bye week, and Kaepernick organized and hosted the event at an Oakland community center with the help of volunteers.
“I didn’t just want to hire someone to come in and do this. We did all of this ourselves,” Kaepernick said. “We even opted out of corporate sponsors because we just wanted the freedom to say exactly what we thought the kids we’ve brought here today need to hear and learn.”
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) October 29, 2016
The camp was inspired by the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panther Party, which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The camp’s hundreds of black and Latino children from Oakland, San Francisco, and other Bay Area cities was equipped with 10 rights that they should know. Those rights, as listed on the back of their t-shirts:
1. You have the right to be free.
2. You have the right to be healthy.
3. You have the right to be brilliant.
4. You have the right to be safe.
5. You have the right be loved.
6. You have the right to be courageous.
7. You have the right to be alive.
8. You have the right to be trusted.
9. You have the right to be educated.
10. You have the right to know your rights.
“We’re here today to fight back and give you all lessons to combat the oppressive issues that our people face on a daily basis. We’re here to give you tools to help you succeed,” Kaepernick told the kids. “We’re going to give you knowledge on policing history, what the systems of policing in America were based on, and we’re also going to teach you skills to make sure you always make it home safely.
“We want to teach you today about financial literacy, how you can pursue higher education, how you can be physically fit and healthy. We will talk about police brutality, and what to do about it, but we also have lawyers, professors, health and fitness experts, because we want you to be able to live the life of your dreams.”
The kids then split into breakout sessions, which Kaepernick oversaw to make sure they were done correctly. Each child left with a backpack that included forms for the children to track back their ancestry.
“I want you to know what I know and know where you came from before slavery, before this oppression that we are experiencing, before police brutality, you had thousands of years of rich history and I want you to know your roots with that history,” Kaepernick said.
The camp comes after Kaepernick has protested the anthem before games, and pledged $1 million from his salary and the revenue from his jersey sales toward community organizations.