This 4th of July, if you were conflicted about celebrating the holiday while being African-American, you were definitely not alone. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was feeling the same way.
The 29-year-old sent an Independence Day message to his Twitter followers, questioning the value the Fourth of July has for us given that the “United States was founded on the backs of [Black] slaves,” the Huff Post wrote.
“How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs?” Kaepernick asked with a Twitter video of him with his partner Nessa Diab on their trip.
For him, traveling to Ghana was a way to feel free.
“To find my independence I went home.”
On Instagram, he posted a more in-depth message that better explained why he wanted to visit Ghana in the first place. He said that after tracing his roots, he felt that in order to gain his “personal independence,” it was necessary to “find out where [his] ancestors came from.”
He wrote: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” – Frederick Douglass. In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return. I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah’s Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return.”
Kaepernick also travelled to Egypt where he was accompanied by current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, ESPN noted.
As previously reported, last August Kaepernick became a symbol of the resistance when during a pre-season game with the Green Bay Packers, the Niners quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem.
When asked “why,” the he replied: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed… If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” Kaepernick added.
Since then, it’s believed that the free agent has been blackballed from the NFL, as no other team has picked him up yet. Sadly, this is the price people have to pay when they have the audacity to stand up for what they believe.