Why We Knelt


Emily Kenny

Photo by Emily Kenny

Alyssa Parker, Contributing Writer

I’m Alyssa Parker, and I am a sophomore from Des Moines. I am a cheerleader and also the President of the Black Student Union at BVU. Homecoming Saturday, September 30, myself, and a few fellow cheerleaders decided to silently protest during the National Anthem.

Protesting the national anthem is something that started last year with Colin Kaepernick. When asked why he was doing it, he answered, “I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

I am protesting for the same exact reasons. Black people in this country, especially this year, are being killed without justice, and we still are not getting basic equal rights. Every time a black man or woman is killed, they lose their voice to speak out on these issues. I want to use my voice every single day to talk about these injustices, and speak on behalf of these men and women who no longer can.

First, I wanted to start off with the fact that this is not about disrespecting the military or the flag, and that’s the biggest misconception.

Women and men fight in the military every day for our freedom and rights such as freedom of speech, petition, and assembly. If you think kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful, is it because you think that song represents our country?

The Pledge of Allegiance says, “liberty and justice for all.” I know everyone knows those 6 words. We learned them when we were kids; they were embedded in us for quite a long time. When we say, “liberty and justice for all,” we have to give that. If you want black men and women to stand for the anthem, we should get to receive what was promised to every citizen.

When a black man gets shot and a cop goes on paid vacation, and no charges are brought up, what is the family of this black man supposed to do? Get over it? Stop being mad? Imagine what it would feel like to lose your son, husband, brother, father, to the hands of someone who was supposed to be protecting them. Then every single time you want to talk about it or get some answers, someone is always telling you to just shut up, or sit down.

That is how some black men and women feel every single day. I wake up and read the news every day and my heart sinks, knowing another person who looks like me, looks just like my dad, was killed.

All we want, as men and women of color, is when lives are taken, proper steps are taken to ensure justice. However, society descends into chaos when we want that. I understand this is a controversial topic, but I think that in the anger and misunderstanding, the message and purpose, are getting lost. People are focusing on the form of protest and not what we are actually protesting about.


To view an alternative viewpoint, written by Opinion Editor, Olivia Wieseler, click here.