Colin Kaepernick Has Joined My Boycott

All of the debate about Colin Kaepernick not standing for the National Anthem took me back to 1968. In that year at 14 years of age, I decided that I could no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in homeroom or sing the National Anthem.

America was going through a rash of riots, marches and yes cross burnings. I was born in 1954 the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. I was told I could do anything. But it didn’t seem to be the case. So one day I did not stand for the pledge. I did stand and recite the Lord’s prayer which seemed to make much more sense.(I attended a Catholic Girls school).My homeroom teacher pulled me aside and asked my why I had not said the pledge. I told her that until I believed that the US lived up to it, in particularly the line “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”, I was not going to say it. And so I have not said it since.

That being said I have shown my patriotism by living out my faith and working to make this “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”. Over the last 48 years (yes it has been that long) many things have changed. I have accomplished things that as a African American girl of 14 I could never have imagined. We have elected an African American President twice.

But I have never been compelled to go back to saying the Pledge or singing the National Anthem. Why? Because in part I don’t want anyone to think that we have accomplished all we need to accomplish. It is not unlike my understanding of the the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “They Kingdom come They will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. That is a pledge I can make. To work without ceasing to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. When that day comes I will stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer.

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