By Klarke Stricklen
The Black Student Union (BSU) held a “Just Do It” march on the University Quad in support of Colin Kaepernick and Nike’s decision to support his campaign, “Know Your Rights.”
The function was held in an effort to counter misconceptions about Kaepernick’s campaign and accommodate the desire of some students to kneel in support of it. Students said they wanted to demonstrate solidarity with Kaepernick’s advocacy work for victims of police brutality and racial and economic injustice.
While playing in the NFL, Kaepernick chose to take a knee during the national anthem as a form of peaceful protest to highlight these injustices in a respectful way, according to his campaign. Many believe his career suffered due to his decision to protest.
Before the march on the Quad, president of the BSU Jinae Washington (C’19) told The Purple about her intentions for the event.
“The march was to show that we support each other through solidarity and encouragement for issues concerning the minority community,” Washington commented.
Students gathered in the rain before the event to design posters and hear speeches given by Lala Hilizah (C’21) and Kylee Richards (C’21). In a brief conversation with Hilizah, she said, “All of us are here to show that we are aware and that we care about the systematic oppression of marginalized people. That’s the first step to procuring meaningful change.”
After the speeches, the march began, and students were led from the Quad and taken down to the Ayres Multicultural Center (MCC).
In the midst of the march in the rain, students began to shout chants in unity, one of them being, “Rain or sleet, we won’t sleep.”
Nellie Boyd-Owens (C’22) said she chose to participate in the march because “I believe in equality and equal rights for all. Simple as that. I think Colin Kaepernick has a good reason to kneel in protest, and he’s brave to do so.”
Once all the students arrived at the MCC, they kneeled in unity to signify their support of Kaepernick. After the event, the BSU provided snacks for all attendees and debriefed. Students discussed wanting to hold more events that centered on advocacy for social justice and using their various platforms to advocate for this cause.
Washington also told The Purple her future plans for the BSU holding events similar to the march. “You can expect the BSU to continue to provide the passion and courage this campus needs to provide a safe and comfortable domain for multicultural students,” she said.