Due to current ongoing litigation of Mr. Kaepernick, no video livestream was allowed of his remarks. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
Thank you. I'm not quite sure what to say after that. Thank you, that's amazing.
As I was sitting there, and I was thinking about what I was going to say up here, I had had a short speech written. But it just didn't seem true to what it should've been, with the authenticity and the passion and the inspiration that's in this room.
I'm going to start by sharing a story of when I first took a knee. That following week, a whole high school football team -- Castlemont High School, Oakland California -- their whole football team took a knee in support of what I was doing. So I went to go visit these young brothers and spend game day with them, and I'm in the locker room with them. They're getting ready, they're getting prepped, and I hear them talking back and forth, getting hyped up, and I hear one of the young brothers say, "We don't get to eat at home, so we're going to eat on this field." That moment has never left me, and I've carried that everywhere I went.
And I think that's the reality of what I've fought for, what so many of us have fought for. People live with this every single day, and we expect them to thrive in situations where they're just trying to survive. And I feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities -- as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power -- to continue to fight for them, and uplift them, empower them. Because if we don’t, we become complicit in the problem. It is our duty to fight for them and we are going to continue to fight for them.
And I go to what recently happened with the Nike campaign where, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything,” became huge. As I reflected on that, it made me think, “If we all believe in something, we won’t have to sacrifice everything.” And in thinking about the initiation of this protest, this stance, and where we’re at currently, I go back to something I said in a speech previously: that love is at the root of our resistance, and it will continue to be, and it will fortify everything that we do. Thank you.
Dave Chappelle | Comedian & Actor
Kenneth I. Chenault (JD '76) | Executive & Philanthropist
Shirley Ann Jackson | President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Pamela Joyner (MBA '84) | Art Collector & Philanthropist
Colin Kaepernick | Athlete & Activist
Florence Ladd | Director Emerita of the Bunting Institute & Professor
Bryan Stevenson (JD '85, MPP '85, LLD '15) | Founder / Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative
Kehinde Wiley | Artist