Minnesota’s 2019 “Teacher of the Year” Kelly Holstine knelt during Monday night’s college football championship game as a sign of protest. She did this while being honored along with other teachers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
According to Holstine, it felt right to have a very respectful protest.
“I just decided that it felt like the right thing to do, to have a very respectful protest,” Holstine said. “I really feel like our country is not serving the needs of all its inhabitants … so many humans right now that are not being given the respect and the rights that they deserve,” she said.
Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, “No one is free until we are all free” (MLK). #imwithkap #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/DimP3pBtBn
— Kelly D. Holstine (she/her) (@kellydholstine) January 14, 2020
According to Holstine, she consulted with fellow teachers beforehand and decided that it was not enough to simply not place her hand on her heart during the National Anthem. She added that those who realized her gesture were very supportive of it.
“Not everybody is given the opportunity to have a voice, and I can take a small moment, a respectful moment of protest, and exercise my First Amendment rights, and stand up for my students and for vulnerable adults and for people who are not treated in the way that they should be. It feels like my responsibility to do that,” she said.
In a tweet, Holstine said: “Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, ‘No one is free until we are all free’ (MLK). #imwithkap #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ” This is in reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.