By Mariela Regalado
On Saturday, January 14 approximately 200 students convened at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational and Memorial Center. Upon arrival students and chaperones were greeted by numerous happy faces. They were handed a notebook, pen, and shirt that were all emblazoned with the phrase “I KNOW MY RIGHTS.” Standing by the landing that holds the statue of Malcolm X hands raised in mid speech was outspoken athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick.
The Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) is an ongoing campaign for youth fully funded by Kaepernick. It raises awareness on higher education, financial literacy, how to properly interact with law enforcement and so much more. It began in Oakland, followed by New York City, and will continue adding more cities to it’s roster. Upstairs in the ballroom that was covered in vibrant floor to ceiling murals of Malcolm and his journey was a catered breakfast by SweetChick Life. Colin Kaepernick walked around to interact with everyone, snapped a few selfies and engaged in conversation.
The event was officially underway when Kaepernick made his way to the stage and welcomed everyone. He immediately shared the significance of choosing the venue; it was the last place Malcolm X spoke and where he was assassinated. For me, it was a full circle moment. I felt blessed to stand in a sacred place, participate in an event aimed towards educating the youth, during MLK weekend that was created and facilitated by a professional athlete who uses his platform to demand change for some of our most vulnerable populations.
The KYRC facilitated discussions that kicked off with Ameer the lead speaker, a PHD candidate who told us that solidarity transcends social media, that support comes in different ways when you support a movement. One must arm themselves with knowledge and respect their elders and allow them the opportunity to tell their stories. Ameer urged the students to connect throughout generations by acknowledging the people that put in work for them. To take a moment to ask their abuelita to tell them cuentos from when she was young. [read more…]