Colin Kaepernick: Hutchins Center Honors - W. E. B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony (10-11-2018)





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Published on Oct 15, 2018

Presented by Cornel West

Due to current ongoing litigation of Mr. Kaepernick, no video livestream was allowed of his remarks. A transcript of his remarks is below:

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 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 one of the young brothers says, "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 with me 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 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 the, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything,” quote became huge. As I reflected on that, it made me think of, “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.

Honorees: 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


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