Our history is shaped by the fundamental right to protest—and athletes and fans are a part of that history.
Protests are fundamental to our democracy. Both small and large-scale acts of resistance disrupt the status quo and publicly expose the inequities and violence that have shaped our country. Protests are often inconvenient and disruptive—and, because of that, they can play a crucial role in building power and advancing civil rights.
Athletes—as people with access power and a platform—have been a part of that fight for decades. Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in solidarity for racial justice in the 1960s. Jackie Robinson refused to sing the national anthem during baseball games. And Black women athletes have been protesting for racial and gender equity for decades, from Olympian Earlene Brown in the 1960s to more recently Venus Williams fighting for equal pay.
Minnesota athletes are also a part of that legacy. In 2016, the Minnesota Lynx broke uniform rules to wear shirts that read “Change starts with us—Justice & Accountability” with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling on the back. They followed up with actions on and off the court, including wearing #BlackLivesMatter shirts, linking arms during the national anthem, and holding a press conference about racial profiling. Minnesota Lynx Player Seimone Augustus was also a vocal advocate against the marriage ban back in 2012.
Young people in our state have also joined the fight—with several student athletes kneeling during the national anthem before competitions.
We say, “We the people dare to create a more perfect union.” But at the time the Constitution was written, "We the people” really only meant wealthy white men—which means women, indigenous communities, people of color, and other marginalized groups have had to fight for their rights every step of the way. We are responsible for using our resources, platforms, and connections to make the promise of our Constitution a reality for everyone.
As hundreds of thousands of people pour into the Twin Cities for the 10-day Super Bowl event, activists across our state are also preparing to #TakeAKnee and protest on behalf of racial justice, immigrant rights, and economic equity. You can be a part of the legacy of protest that has shaped our state and our country.
If you are planning on exercising your right to protest over the next few weeks, we’ve got you covered:
- Attend our Facebook Live "Know Your Rights" training on Wednesday, January 31 at 1 p.m. CT and get your protesting questions answered.
- Download our "#TakeAKnee" poster to print and display in your windows. You can also stop by our office in Saint Paul for a special 12x18 poster version! **Limited quantities available**
- Download and review our Super Bowl Protest "Know Your Rights" handout.
And tag us in your #TakeAKnee actions and other protest photos and posts by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!