Words by: Shaya Chamorro
Raianna Brown in 2016 at the Georgia Tech Game. Photo by: David J. Griff
It is no surprise that women would become a part of the #TakeTheKnee trend. Before the 2016 NFL season, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a stand (or knee) for the people of this country who are oppressed and not being treated as equally as others. Now almost two years later, women in the sports industry are bolding joining the silent protest movement.
Georgia Tech Gold-rush dancer and engineering major Raianna Brown, became viral this week for a photo of her kneeling at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Brown, kneeling in the grass as her teammates stood tall for the National Anthem has more than 35,000 retweets on 130,000 likes on the photo she tweeted of herself… Last year. The photo was taken about 5 weeks after Colin Kaepernick’s first peaceful protest against violence toward people of color. The dancer who at the time was 21, included in her statement that she has always had a heart for being a woman of substance when it came to social injustices, which lead to her following Kaepernick’s movement.
Due to the racial and political climate we are under as a people in United States, women are voicing their beliefs just as our ancestors have: Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, etc. Women, black women more specifically have always had a presence in the Civil Rights Movement. Now in 2017, the knee movement is simply just a silent and peaceful way for athletes (trending but not exclusive to only athletes) to use their clout as a platform for the inequalities people of color are going through and racial injustices that are still taunting. Women in the sports industry are beginning to unite for this cause and it is contagious.
Mara Green, a senior volleyball player at Florida State University, decided to follow in Kaepernick’s footsteps during their rivalry game against the University of Florida. According to a statement Green gave WCTV, she took a knee once the National Anthem began to express her unhappiness with the racial tension, racial injustice and police brutality in our country. Green stated “This is my way of silently and peacefully protesting my beliefs.”
Women have always been apart of silent protest, but in this generation there is a power in social media. Social media has helped many people who are unaware of what political climate we are in and current events. The #TakeTheKnee challenge has touched many woman and was recognized at our university, FAMU.
Courtni Smith, a flyer and Captain of the cheerleading team at FAMU stated “I started cheering prior to attending FAMU and continued to excel my skills. I am happy that athletes are getting smarter and understanding in depth the relationship between sports and politics.” Smith is very happy that athletes are voicing their opinions about the political climate silently. “In high school it was different I was the minority and now I am surrounded by black women as team mates. […] We don’t get the same acknowledgments for doing silent protest because it is expected of us as black cheerleaders at an HBCU, we’ve done it before. The women at PWI’s are very bold, they are the minority.”
Smith is looking forward to hopefully having the entire team join the #TakeTheKnee movement in respects to black lives matter and simply women inequality again. As far as cheerleaders who have family members in the armed forces she respects them if they do not join but stated “we will support each other as a team.” Stay on the look out for women in athletics protesting for their beliefs.
— AARON N TAYLOR (@TheEdLawProf) October 1, 2016
A tweet from @TheEdLawProf on October 1, 2016 during the FAMU vs. Savannah State game.