Colin Kaepernick joined the likes of Joan Baez and Nelson Mandela when he accepted Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday, April 21 – and considering the message he delivered upon being bestowed with the honor, the former 49ers quarterback by no means failed the precedent set by those who’ve preceded him.
Kaep capitalized on the opportunity to decry racism in the U.S. criminal justice system during a ceremony that saw one-time teammate, Eric Reid, present him with the distinction. Both men remain unsigned through the NFL off-season, but Kaepernick’s speech skirted around mention of the alleged blackballing of his career in the interest of shining a light on the subject of “racialized oppression and dehumanization,” which he claimed, before an Amsterdam audience, to be “woven into the very fabric” of American society.
“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?” he asked, after underscoring the impact of police violence in marginalized communities of color as akin to “the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police” and “the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex.”
He confronted racial injustice.
He refused to compromise.
He inspired others.
Colin Kaepernick is our #AmbassadorOfConscience 2018. pic.twitter.com/M2xyGAoviU
— AmnestyInternational (@amnestyusa) April 21, 2018
“I would like to thank Amnesty International for The Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force.” @amnesty @yourrightscamp @ravisionmedia #KnowYourRights 📸: @karlfergusonjr
Click ▶️ to hear Tanya Hart’s Hollywood Live report: