SEATTLE - The Garfield High School football team will continue to take a knee during its games to highlight ongoing injustices throughout the United States of America.
The team made headlines recently when it decided to take a knee during the national anthem at the start of its game. It was meant to be a statement on social issues and highlight the shootings of unarmed minorities in the nation. Coach Joey Thomas backed his players’ decision.
Garfield’s principal Ted Howard has released a statement in response to the football players’ demonstrations:
I commend them for their convictions and support their desire to be the catalyst for a better future. I ask our community to support our young people, our team and our leaders.
In a statement, the Garfield High School football team states that many of them have been “touched in some way in our own personal lives by racism, segregation and bias.” They therefore decided as a team to take a position and “work towards a better future together. We are going to demonstrate this decision through taking a knee at our games.”
Garfield High School football concerns
The statement specifically points out areas of deep concern for the football players, including:
• Equality for all regardless of race, gender, class, social standing and/or sexual orientation — both in and out of the classroom as well as the community.
• Increase of unity within the community. Changing the way the media portrays crime. White people are typically given justification while other minorities are seen as thugs, etc.
• Academic equality for students. Certain schools offer programs/tracks that are not available at all schools or to all students within that school. Better opportunities for students who don’t have parental or financial support is needed. For example, not everyone can afford advanced placement testing fees and those who are unable to pay those fees are often not encouraged to enroll in to those programs. Additionally, the academic investment doesn’t always stay within the community.
• Lack of adequate training for teachers to interact effectively with all students. Example: Why is my passion mistaken for aggression? Why, when I get an A on a test, does the teacher tell me, “Wow, I didn’t know you could pull that off.”
• Segregation through classism.
• Getting others to see that institutional racism does exist in our community, city, state, etc.
To address these concerns the football team states it will meet with local police officials to share experiences and find ways to work together; meet with students in classes where diversity is lacking; speak at assemblies and youth groups about issues; meet with school staff to have open dialogue about what triggers negative experiences.
The Garfield High School football team’s next game is at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the Southwest Athletic Stadium in Seattle.
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