The American football player Colin Kaepernick has gotten both criticism and praise for his refusal to stand while the national anthem is being played before NFL games. His protest, against racism and the oppression of people of color in the US, has sparked debate and become an example to other athletes, including student players.
This past weekend, Kaepernick sought to instill his activism more directly in young people, by running the first Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) in Oakland, California, for dozens of local black and Latino children. The day-long camp, held on Oct. 29, focused on rights awareness and on strategies to navigate racist bias, as well as on tools of empowerment—such as personal finance, health, and education.
“We’re going to give you knowledge on policing history, what the systems of policing in America were based on, and we’re also going to teach you skills to make sure you always make it home safely,” Kaepernick said, quoted by Shaun King, a columnist for the New York Daily News who attended the camp with his son.
The core philosophy of the camp was centered around 10 fundamental rights, which King says was inspired by the Black Panthers’ 10 point program. These rights were printed on the camp t-shirt, and thought to children by Kaepernick and other speakers.
- You have the right to be free.
- You have the right to be healthy.
- You have the right to be brilliant.
- You have the right to be safe.
- You have the right be loved.
- You have the right to be courageous.
- You have the right to be alive.
- You have the right to be trusted.
- You have the right to be educated.
- You have the right to know your rights.
The quarterback told King he is planning to replicate the event all over the country. Kaepernick didn’t take sponsorship for the camp because, he explained to the reporter, he didn’t want interference from sponsors.
At the end of the camp, children were offered an option to get a free DNA testing to discover their ancestry. “I want you to know… where you came from before slavery, before this oppression that we are experiencing, before police brutality,” Kaepernick told the children. “You had thousands of years of rich history, and I want you to know your roots with that history.”