Former NFL star and ac-tivist Colin Kaepernick marked July Fourth by sharing a video of actor James Earl Jones rec-iting Frederick Douglass’s historic speech, “What to the Sl-ave is the Fourth of July” with Kaepernick calling the holiday a “celebration of white supr-emacy.”
The video shows images of the Declaration of Independence, sla-ves, Ku Klux Klan members, ly-nchings and police br-utality as Jones’s voice narrates in the background: “Fellow-citizens, pa-rdon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, emb-odied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?”
Kaepernick captioned the video with strong conde-mnation of rac-ism and a call for “libe-ration for all” in the future.
“Bl-ack ppl have been dehu-manized, bru-talized, cri-minalized + te-rrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your comm-emoration of ‘independence’, while you ensl-aved our ance-stors,” he wrote. “We rej-ect your celebration of white supr-emacy & look forward to libe-ration for all.”The impa-ssioned statement comes as many citizens reflect on Independence Day in the context of nationwide prote-sts agai-nst police br-utality and rac-ism.
Lawmakers have faced growing pressure in recent weeks to pass compr-ehensive police reform as well as other policies to protect Bla-ck Americans in the wake of the de-aths of George Floyd and others who have been ki-lled in police cu-stody.
Kaepernick has been an outspoken ac-tivist aga-inst rac-ial inequal-ity for years, drawing national attention and the ire of President Trump when in 2016 he began kneeling during the national anthem in a prot-est agai-nst police br-utality.
His charity, the Know Your Rights Camp, recently launched a fund to help cover the cost of lawyers for prote-sters arr-ested while demo-nstrating in Bl-ack Lives Matter ma-rches and prote-sts.
Other prom-inent figures have used their Fourth of July messages to address rac-ism, including pre-sumptive Democr-atic presidential nominee Joe Biden. who said the U.S. “never lived up to” the promise that all men are created equal.“We have a chance to r-ip the roots of systemic raci-sm out of this country,” Biden said. “We have a chance to live up to the words that founded this nation.”
This Article First Published On THEHILL