Colin Kaepernick just snagged a top honor also given to Malala and U2. He deserves it too.

Sometimes the smallest actions can have the biggest impact.

All former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did was sit down. He didn’t shout, he didn’t stomp, he didn’t set anything on fire — he simply didn’t stand up during the national anthem.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.


That one small act sparked conversations about racial injustice and police use of force — in addition to the meaning of the national anthem and American flag — and ignited a social media controversy the likes of which I have rarely seen.

But Kaepernick didn’t continue to sit. After consulting with veteran and fellow football player Nate Boyer, Kaepernick switched to kneeling instead of sitting, to show respect for veterans while still protesting racial injustice in America’s law enforcement and justice system. Throughout the 2016-2017 football season, despite the controversy swirling around him, Kaepernick quietly knelt on the sidelines at every game.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

Some people hated him for it. Some people loved him for it. Amnesty International just awarded him their highest honor for it.

Global human rights group Amnesty International named Kaepernick their 2018 Ambassador of Conscience — the top human rights award given by the organization. Previous winners include Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, and U2.

Many Americans celebrated the honor, while others rolled their eyes. But whether or not you agree with Kaepernick’s message or methods, there’s no doubt he earned and deserves this award.

As Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, said:

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination. Just like the Ambassadors of Conscience before him, Colin Kaepernick chooses to speak out and inspire others despite the professional and personal risks. When high profile people choose to take a stand for human rights, it emboldens many others in their struggles against injustice. Colin Kaepernick’s commitment is all the more remarkable because of the alarming levels of vitriol it has attracted from those in power.”

Kaepernick sacrificed his football career for a cause. And he’s done much more than that.

Some people have focused so much on Kaepernick’s anthem protests that they’ve missed the work he’s been doing off the field.

He started the Colin Kaepernick Foundation, with a mission "to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism." Through his foundation, he has donated a million dollars of his own money to various organization working for justice and police reform. He’s created a camp for kids to learn about their civil rights. And he has inspired others in the NFL, and throughout the entertainment world, to donate to similar causes.

When I started the #10for10 #Encore as part of my #MillionDollarPledge it was because after I ended the Pledge I still had an amazing show of support from friends that wanted to be involved, so I decided on one more day to continue to support the organizations on the ground. Well that one day, turned into two days after an outpour of support from friends wanting to join to giveback to the community who are fighting hard for us on the ground everyday. 10 people in my original #10for10 turned into 20 people adding on at the end of these two days! Amazing! · Of course, I couldn’t end the #10for10 without hearing from this amazing singer, philanthropist, mother, wife, actress and activist, @aliciakeys. She messaged me instantly as the #10for10 was going to show her support and Pledge $15k to Silicon Valley De-Bug! @sv_debug is an organization that has initiated and lead successful social justice campaigns to advance the rights of youth, workers, immigrants and those impacted by the criminal justice system. · Thank you, Alicia for all the work you do in the community to help our brothers and sisters globally. And thanks to everyone that was involved with the #MillionDollarPledge! Together we are strong. See everyone involved as well as all the organizations we donated to that are on the frontlines everyday fighting for social justice on Kaepernick7.com! #PowerToThePeople

A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on

All of this in addition to serving as a catalyst for conversation, a powerful symbol of peaceful protest for some, and a highly controversial figure in the social and political landscape for others.

You don’t have to agree with Kaepernick’s philosophical — or physical — stance to agree that he's met the criteria for the Ambassador of Conscience Award.

Standing — or sitting, or kneeling — for what you believe in takes courage, especially in the face of great resistance. After many teams had the opportunity to pick him up, Kaepernick still remains jobless with the NFL. He has been the target of the president of the United States, who referred to protesting players as a “son of a bitch” and encouraged people to boycott games when players kneel or sit during the anthem. There’s no question he made enormous sacrifices in his career — and in the court of public opinion in a “spirit of activism.”

In doing so, he joins an elite group of activists around the world who have been recognized with Amnesty International. And no matter what people think of his method of protest, he has rightfully earned his place among them through his uncompromising stand, and unwavering dedication to fighting injustice.

Most Shared

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture