Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams has presented former National Football League (NFL) quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick with a New York City Council proclamation honoring him for his “commitment to protesting the systemic oppression of and police brutality toward people of color.”
Prior to presenting the proclamation Tuesday night, at a gala hosted by The Nation Institute, Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said he and Kaepernick discussed the movement that the quarterback sparked when first he opted to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games.
Since then, Williams noted that the act of protest has gained momentum, most recently when the President Trump “began a sustained campaign of attack against Kaepernick and the other athletes he inspired to take a knee.”
Williams said he “has long been an active supporter of Kaepernick’s efforts,” leading a rally in support of his movement alongside a group of NYPD officers in August and leading 14 of his fellow council members in staging a “kneel-in” on the steps of City Hall in September, in solidarity with the protesting athletes.
The proclamation reads in part: “Despite all criticism, Mr. Kaepernick knew he was in the right and risked everything to make a difference.
“He continues to prove that by working together, we can create the change needed to improve our society for both our current and future generations,” it says.
Kaepernick also received the 2017 Puffin / Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship at the event.
“I don’t want to have to wait 20, 30 years to celebrate Colin Kaepernick and what’s done,” Williams said. “We had to wait decades before we could celebrate Muhammed Ali.
“But it’s important to have the courage to know when you’re in a moment to recognize and celebrate the people who have made that moment happen,” he added. “Colin Kaepernick ignited a movement with the simple and courageous act of kneeling, and he deserves the recognition and respect that some are trying to deny him.”