Oakland Unified School District’s Honor Band took a stand for justice Monday evening, Sept. 25 when band members took a knee while playing the national anthem at the Oakland A’s game versus the Seattle Mariners.
The young people were joined by Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell.
This was the band’s second protest. On Sept. 20, 2016, just weeks after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his silent protest against racism and police brutality, the OUSD Honor Band played the national anthem before an A’s game, and at the end of the song, most musicians took a knee in solidarity.
According to the district, last year’s protest was met by caused a firestorm of reaction across the country. Much of it was hateful rhetoric from outside the Bay Area aimed at the students and teachers involved.
“(Band members) reacted with grace and humility, taking the attacks in stride, knowing it was more important to stand (or kneel) for what they believe in than to listen to the critics,” according to a district press statement.
Protests at NFL games began to draw national attention last year when former 49er Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest racism in the U.S., in particular police brutality and killings of African Americans.
Throughout the year, some athletes have followed in his footsteps, but he has also drawn fierce criticism and has not been signed to any team this football season.
In the past week, Protests by NFL players and athletes in other professional sports have exploded after President Trump condemned the protests and said any NFL player who doesn’t stand during the anthem should be fired.
Other students across the country, from North Carolina to Colorado, have also taken a knee.
The Oakland Unified District’s Honor Band took a knee when it came on the field to play the national anthem at the Oakland A’s game, Monday, Sept. 25. Photo courtesy of OUSD.