As the Missouri state senate convened on Wednesday, one senator took a stand – by sitting.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, did not join her fellow senators as they rose to their feet to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Inside the chambers of the Missouri state capitol, cameras caught Nasheed sitting down in what she said was a display of solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem.
Video clip from KTVI-TV
“I decided to not stand for the pledge of allegiance today to stand in solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon. I am not anti-America, and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand,” she said in a statement, according to KRCG-TV.
Nasheed’s list of “injustices” include those of police brutality, poverty, voter suppression, “unlivable wages” and “mass incarceration.”
“The pledge of allegiance and the national anthem stand not just for what America is, but for what it should be. ‘Liberty and justice for all’ are not just words – they are our country’s ideals. We must commit ourselves to honoring those principles not just by speech, but also through our actions,” Nasheed said, according to KRCG. “This is why I, as a matter of conscience, chose not to stand today.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called the senator’s choice an “occasion for great sorrow.” The Republican lawmaker agreed with Nasheed’s right to protest but not her method.
““My reaction to Sen. Nasheed’s demonstration is not one of indignation or anger,” Kinder said in a statement. “Instead, it’s an occasion for great sorrow. The Pledge of Allegiance, like the National Anthem, is an occasion for all Americans to stand together in national unity. There is no question of the senator’s right to remain seated during the Pledge, but it’s a question of the propriety of her action. I worry about the example she is setting, particularly for our young people.”
Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens released a statement in response to the senator’s actions.
“We live in the greatest country on earth because we have men and women willing to give their lives so Americans, even politicians, can exercise their constitutional rights no matter how much I disagree with them,” Greitens said, according to The Missouri Times. “Any politician who gets elected by the American people to serve them and gets paid by them to do their work should stand up and give our flag, our country, and our people the respect they deserve.”
Nasheed and another man were arrested in October 2014 after they did not comply with police orders to leave an area in Ferguson where they were not allowed to protest, according to KRCG.
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