Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his silent protest of kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," more and more public figures have opted to join the cause.
Whiles some critics have called Kaepernick's stand a heinous, racist, and even "dumb and disrespectful" deed, others appreciate the call to action in raising awareness for social injustice. And you can add blues singer Leah Tysse to the list of celebrities who so proudly took a knee.
The Bay Area native was invited to sing the national anthem before the Sacramento King’s preseason NBA game on Monday night.
Near the end of her performance, the cameras zoomed in as Tysse tucked her head down while slowly going down on bended knee while singing, “For the land of the free...” The audience erupted in applause and cheers.
Leah released a full statement via Facebook explaining her motive:
"This act embodies the conflict many of us feel. I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans. I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability. I believe that the majority of police are good and are against this too and as a nation we all need to speak up. We should all be outraged and demand justice and an end to the brutality. Let’s look around our communities for those facilitating healthy interactions between law enforcement and communities of color and support.”
Leah acknowledged that she herself reaps the benefits of white privilege and encouraged others to initiate more conversations about race and the horrific effects of police brutality against African Americans.
She then urged her Facebook followers to use their voice by voting in the upcoming presidential electing. She continued,
“The sad reality is, as a white American I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families. Let's be honest. Until we can recognize that white privilege exists we cannot have a dialogue about race. Whether or not you can see if from your vantage point, there is a deep system of institutionalized racism in America, from everyday discrimination to disproportionate incarceration of people of color to people losing their lives at the hands of the police simply for being black. This is not who we claim to be as a nation. It is wrong and I won't stand for it. #solidarity #pleasevote”
Many in the Twitterverse rejoiced in glory and invited her to have a seat at the table:
However, Leah did receive a good amount of unfavorable backlash from a few unhappy Twitter users:
Can’t wait to see you at the cookout , Leah!