Kaepernick, Chappelle getting Harvard black culture awards

Kaepernick, Chappelle getting Harvard black culture awards

Video Courtesy of NESN

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and comedian Dave Chappelle are among eight people being saluted by Harvard University for their contributions to black history and culture.

All eight recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal will be honored Thursday afternoon by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard.

Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, created a firestorm when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The other honorees are Kenneth Chenault, chairman and a managing director of General Catalyst; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Pamela Joyner, founder of Avid Partners, LLC; psychologist and author Florence Ladd; Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and artist Kehinde Wiley.

Urban Faith Update: Kaepernick, Kavanaugh, and Christians

Urban Faith Update: Kaepernick, Kavanaugh, and Christians

Video Courtesy of VICE News

I’m not a particularly big sports fan unless my kids are in the game, but back in the day I really did want to be like Mike. Fast forward a few decades and one of our writers, Jelani Greenidge, had me absolutely convinced that LeBron James and his big heart for education made him the true GOAT of any sport. But now I’m seeing God’s hand in an athlete of a different brand — Colin Kaepernick. A man of faith who reportedly believes “God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at,” Kaepernick and his new Nike deal as the new face of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign shows a shrewdness that feels like God’s hand at work. Okay, some may say I’m overreaching a tad with this Nike/God connection, but I truly believe Kaepernick has ascended from being a fighting symbol of social justice who maybe would have earned a paragraph in a history book for drawing the ire of King Trump to someone you’ll be telling your grandkids about.

Brett Kavanaugh

The phenomenon that is Brett Kavanaugh is why some black worshipers are leaving white evangelical churches. Sure, some of us may be on board with him as a new Supreme Court Justice because he’s pro-life and down with religious freedom issues. But the truth is, as John Richards, Jr., Managing Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton Collegepoints out, he’s a troubling pick for Black Christians.  The NAACP breaks down a host of reasons for Blacks to hit the pause button on their support for Kavanaugh, but a big concern for me is the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Did you know that the African American uninsured rate dropped by more than a third under the Affordable Care Act? Kavanaugh has also got a mixed record when it comes to Affirmative Acton — although given the latest lawsuit at Harvard, that may be a moot point soon anyway. This opinion piece by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove feels like an outlier position when it comes to the majority of white evangelicals, but definitely worth a read.

Other Watercooler News

Terence Crutcher, Kaepernick, and Social Injustice: Where Do We Go From Here?

When will this nightmare end? On Monday, our nation added another hashtag to our timelines and newsfeeds after learning of yet another unarmed Black man being gunned down by police.

But, Terence Crutcher was more than just another hashtag. He was active in the church choir, a father of four, a son, and a twin. In fact, he and his twin sister celebrated their 40th birthday a month ago, but you probably won’t hear about much of this on the news. Instead, for the next several weeks, our lives will be inundated with media coverage of Terence’s final moments at every turn.

History shows that we are only left with two options here. We can either watch the video footage that has already been shared thousands of times on social media or continue scrolling down our feeds, only to find an abundance of statuses and memes addressing the incident.

Although this story is still developing and we do not have all of the details on exactly what happened this week, I think we can all agree that this scenario is becoming all too common.

Recent studies show that although Black Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, we are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police officers. But instead, we have turned our attention to burning football jerseys and waiting to see who will be the next athlete to join Colin Kaepernick in his quest to bring awareness to the social injustice that is plaguing our nation.

Acts 17:26 says, “ From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth.” Yes, we are all created equally in God’s eyes, but the above statistics paint a different picture.

Kaepernick addresses his supporters in a recent Instagram post and ends his caption by saying, “I believe in the people, and WE can be the change!” We may agree with his statement, but how many of us are really willing to do something to see that this change is manifested?

Instead, many of us seem to be losing sight of what really matters.

Yes, Kaepernick made the decision to exercise his freedom and leverage his platform by kneeling during the national anthem, and no, some of us may not agree with it. However, I think we can all agree that something must be done to show that enough is enough.

But, the lingering question is, “What?”

When will we, as a nation, get to the point where we say, “Something has to be done,” and work to find a solution that truly does provide liberty and justice for all, regardless of their race?

When will our voices be heard? And, what can we as individuals do in order to help bring justice to Terence Crutcher and so many others whose lives have been reduced to yet another hashtag?

Colin Kaepernick and many others have found peaceful ways to express their frustration with the recent injustices that plague our nation. And, although Kaepernick is one of the more famous figures who have decided to use his platform for social justice, hundreds, and even thousands, of people of all races are working tirelessly to bring awareness to this ever-growing, national problem.

So, instead of only opting to be vocal on social media about the death of Terence Crutcher and so many others, what do you plan to do to ensure that your voice is heard?

Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear from you!