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Colin Kaepernick sticks to his game plan, hits $1M pledge

5th February 2018   ·   0 Comments

As a budding activist who understands that talk is cheap, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided two years ago to back up his national anthem protests and talk about social injustice in America with a campaign to raise $1 million for organizations working to improve conditions in oppressed communities across the U.S.

CNN reported that Kaepernick reached that goal Wednesday, thanks in large part to the groundswell of support he has received from friends, fellow athletes celebrities and others who share his concern for the dismal state of conditions in low-income communities.

The pledge he made in September 2016 has raised $1 million that will be used to address a host of societal ills and issues including homelessness, at-risk families, education, community-police relations, prison reform, inmates’ rights, reproductive rights, hunger and more.

Among those who supported his campaign was Atlanta rapper T.I., whose financial contribution was used to pay for building materials and labor for a Houston-based organization working to help families and neighborhoods negatively impacted by the devastation of last year’s Hurricane Harvey.

CNN reported that as a finale to his year of giving, Kaepernick teamed up with influential athletes and artists to spotlight organizations close to them. He called the project #10for10, and asked participants to donate $10,000 to a cause of their choice, which he then matched with another $10,000.

His final $10,000 went to match a donation from R&B singer Usher.

“This is a collaborative effort, and as a result of us helping each other we all become stronger,” Usher said in a joint video message posted by Kaepernick.

The 10 celebrities that helped Kaepernick to raise the final $100,000 to reach his $1 million pledge and their causes are as follows:
10. Usher: $20k to H.O.M.E. in Lithonia, Georgia

9. Meek Mill: $20k to Youth Service, Inc. in Philadelphia

8. Nick Cannon and Joey Badass: $40,000 to Communities United by Police Reform in New York City

7. Jhene Aiko and Chris Brown: School on Wheels in Los Angeles

6. T.I.: $20k to Angel by Nature in Houston

5. Serena Williams: $20k to Imagine LA in Los Angeles

4. Snoop Dogg: $20k to Mothers Against Police Brutality in Dallas

3. Steph Curry: $20k to United Playaz in San Francisco

2. Jesse Williams: $20k to Advancement Project in Washington, D.C.

1. Kevin Durant: $20k to Silicon Valley De-Bug in San Jose, California.

Some of the other donations from Kaepernick’s foundation to improve conditions in oppressed communities across the U.S. listed below:

• $25,000 to DREAM, a baseball organization in Harlem, New York

• $25,000 to Coalition for the Homeless in New York City

• $25,000 to United We Dream, a organization helping immigrant youth

• $33,000 to Lower East Side Girls Club in New York City

• $33,000 to 100 Suits for 100 Men in Jamaica, New York

• $25,000 to American Friends Service Committee, which provides behavioral health treatment and other services to incarcerated individuals, in Phoenix, Arizona
• $50,000 to Life After Hate, an educational and rehabilitative organization started by former members of hate groups, in Chicago

• $50,000 to Somalia Famine Relief

• $25,000 to Black Veterans for Social Justice in Brooklyn, New York

• $25,000 to Center for Repro-ductive Rights in New York City

• $25,000 to Mothers Against Police Brutality in Dallas

• $25,000 to I Will Not Die Young Campaign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kaepernick made international headlines when he decided to kneel during the national anthem as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers during the fall of 2016.

When asked by a reporter why he refused to stand for the national anthem, Kaepernick said he was kneeling in protest of bigotry and police brutality. His actions inspired several of his teammates and fellow NFL athletes across the country to make similar gestures in support of social justice. Others were also inspired and followed suit, including high school and college football players, college cheerleaders and soccer players around the world

In March 2017 he became a free agent and has not played in the NFL since.

The NFL’s blackballing of Kaepernick and President Donald Trump’s sharp criticism of professional athletes who refused to stand for the national anthem reignited the movement during the early part of the 2017 NFL season and led to widespread protests by players across the U.S. and growing support among a number of NBA athletes including Cleveland Cavaliers standout LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans power forward DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins and Steph Curry, who announced that the Golden State Warriors would not visit the White House during their visit to Washington, DC to celebrate their recent NBA championship.

In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing the league of collusion.

In November, he was named GQ’s Citizen of the Year, and in December, he accepted the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

“With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people,” Kaepernick said during his acceptance speech. “Because my platform is the people.”

In December, Kaepernick was also honored by the ACLU of Southern California, which presented him with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award.

“We all have an obligation no matter the risk, and regardless of reward, to stand up for our fellow men and women who are being oppressed with the understanding that human rights cannot be compromised,” Kaepernick said afterwards.

This article originally published in the February 5, 2018 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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