This week, Kaepernick facilitated a youth camp in Oakland, CA. The theme was “Know Your Rights.” According to a father who attended the event, Kaepernick told the ‘hundreds of black and Latino kids’ that:
“We want to teach you today about financial literacy, how you can pursues higher education, how you can be physically fit and healthy. We will talk about police brutality, and what to do about it, but we also have lawyers, professors, health and fitness experts, because we want you to be able to live the life of our dreams.”
At first glance, this seems like a noble effort for the controversial athlete to take time off of practice to give back to children. Striving for higher education and chasing after dreams is a great message, especially for kids that may not get as much support as others. The parts about police brutality seems seem muted, not instigative, and in an otherwise positive context.
Everything seems great – an ‘agree to disagree’ situation – until it was revealed that the camp was inspired by the Black Panthers.
The camp, which was held around the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, printed a declaration of rights, inspired by the Black Panther’s 10 point plan, on T-shirts of the campers:
1) You have the right to be free.
2) You have the right to be healthy.
3) You have the right to be brilliant.
4) You have the right to be safe.
5) You have the right to loved.
6) You have the right to be courageous.
7) You have the right to be alive.
8) You have the right to be trusted.
9) You have the right to be educated.
10) You have the right to know your rights.
According to the Independent Journal Review, “Kaepernick — who said that he wants the camps to spread “all over the country” — also shared a photo of former Black Panther leader Ericka Huggins, noting she'd come to “share her knowledge” with the camp..”
The Black Panther Party, a controversial topic that still divides the country, has broken back into the national conversation the past two years. Beyoncé’s 2016 Super Bowl performance sparked heated debate by referencing the Black Panthers with costumes and the signature Black Power pose. With the rise of Black Lives Matter movement, which has devolved into riots on several occasions, it has returned the country to a time of wide-spread protest violence.