Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, has been out of a job this past year but has not been out of the spotlight. After a series of high profile political moves, Kaepernick has maintained his commitment to political action with a recent campaign called “Million Dollar Pledge.” The campaign has attracted attention in the last few days for raising $20 000 towards a charity that supports youth growing up in underprivileged communities.
The “Million Dollar Pledge” is a project that Kaepernick says aims to raise lots of money to support charities working in oppressed communities.
The footballer said he wants to “donate one million dollars plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities, 100k a month for 10 months.”
The bold and ambitious goal is in keeping with Kaepernick’s strong political message over the past year. Tho those who may not recall, Kaepernick was labeled persona non grata in the NFL after heading a movement to kneel during the American anthem. The move, taken up by many other black players, attracted the ire of many, including President Trump.
Kaepernick has been forced out of a job in the NFL this year for his actions. His move to stay active has not gone unnoticed. The $20 000 raised recently comes from two sources – the comedian Hannibal Buress and the actor Yara Shahidi. Buress is a well-known comedian from the TV channel The Comedy Network, while Shahidi is a young actor, best known for roles on the show “Black-ish.” At only 17 years old she has also been accepted into Harvard University.
The pledges from these two entertainers are added to Kaepernick’s pledge, and the $20 000 will go towards a charity called Assata’s Daughters. This organization aims to:
“develop and train young people, ages 4-19, in the Black queer feminist tradition and in the spirit of Assata.” They also “prioritize this work to help the current momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement to carry on into the future.”
The name Assata comes from Assata Shakur, a civil rights activist and member of the Black Liberation Army. Shakur has been a fugitive since the ‘70s after escaping from prison where she was serving a life sentence for the murder of a state trooper in New Jersey.
The incident occurred on the New Jersey turnpike in 1973. Assata and another activist were pulled over by police; two people were killed and two were shot and injured in the aftermath. Assata’s name has been on the list of FBI’s Most Wanted for over 30 years now. She escaped from prison in 1979 with the aid of other Black Liberation Army members posing as visitors to the jail. Assata was also a step-aunt and godmother to the rapper Tupac Shakur, and has been a popular figure in civil rights circles for a long time.
Kaepernick’s commitment to political action is not surprising anymore, though some are surprised by the direction of the $20,000. To donate to such a charity will only further anger some of his detractors, and time will only tell how this will play out.