Sixty-one years after Rosa Parks became an everlasting symbol of the civil rights movement, NAACP president Cornell Williams Brooks says that he sees another symbol possibly emerging.
During an interview with USA Today this week, Brooks compared Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem to Parks’ decision not to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955.
“It’s a lofty name, but it’s not a stretch,” Brooks said of comparing the two. “We’ll let history be the judge, how consequential Kaepernick’s action is.”
“I’ve had a lot of conversations about how to address this issue practically and with reasonable solutions that we feel can be implemented,” he said, “whether it’s legislation or in the communities to make sure that these changes are happening.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Since then, Kaepernick has continued his protest, while also furthering his cause. The 49ers quarterback has pledged to donate $1 million to the communities that need it most. Kaepernick has also said that he’s going to donate all proceeds from his jerseys sales, which is a big deal because his No. 7 recently became the top-selling jersey in the country.
Brooks likes what he sees from Kaepernick and would like to help his cause.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations about how to address this issue practically and with reasonable solutions that we feel can be implemented,” Brooks said. “Whether it’s legislation or in the communities to make sure that these changes are happening.”
Brooks is hoping that Kaepernick’s protest will relay the message that change is needed, and in turn, he hopes that leads to more minorities voting.
“There is a real ambivalence and civic agnosticism when it comes to the vote,” Brooks said. “What we’re endeavoring to do is to remind people that all the things people are protesting in the streets are directly impacted by state and municipal elections.”
Of course, Brooks mainly wants to help because he doesn’t want Kaepernick to feel like he’s fighting his cause alone.
“There’s been no movement in this country that has succeeded upon the heroism of any one individual,” Brooks said, “But rather the loyal, committed, concerted and sustained action of a group of people. So you have to partner.”
Several “partners” have joined Kaepernick’s cause recently. Over the past two weeks, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, Seahawks defensive back Jeremy Lane and 49ers safety Eric Reid have all either knelt or sat during the national anthem.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / NAACP president: ‘It’s not a stretch’ to compare Kaepernick to Rosa Parks