Democratic Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed sat while her colleagues recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the state capital to support the ongoing protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“I decided not to stand for the pledge of allegiance today to stand in solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon,” Nasheed said in a statement posted to Twitter. “I am not anti-America, and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand.”
Nasheed said in her statement that she didn't sit out the Pledge of Allegiance “because of past transgressions by America, but to call attention to current injustices here in this state and country,” and listed several concerns, including police brutality, voter suppression, the injustice of poverty, and the lack of health care, among others.
“I love America, but I want to support a brother who is shining a light on injustice,” Nasheed told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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Kaepernick recently began kneeling during national anthems played before games to bring attention to police brutality against minorities and protest government inaction over the police shootings. While many have criticized the 28-year-old athlete, others sports stars have joined in, including 11 NFL players, reported CBS Sports, as well as professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
Nasheed's district is in St. Louis City, only a few miles from Ferguson, where an unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting led to protests that have sparked the latest discussion about police force against minorities.
Since Brown was killed, more than 2,000 people have been killed by police officers in the United States, according to Vox, using numbers from Fatal Encounters. At least 492 of them were black.