New Orleans, LA – The 2019 teacher of the year in Minnesota took a knee in protest during the National Anthem before the NCAA championship football game between LSU and Clemson.
Kelly Holstine decided to kneel while being honored with other teachers before the game started, according to Fox News.
The kneeling protests were started by former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick in August of 2016.
No NFL team has signed the former professional football player since he quit the San Francisco 49ers after kneeling on the field for the National Anthem during the 2016-2017 season.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time.
However, Holstine said she took a knee to support those she claims are oppressed by President Donald Trump’s administration.
“I just decided that it felt like the right thing to do, to have a very respectful protest,” Holstine said Jan. 15, according to The Hill.
“I think the current environment that is being created and has been created in his tenure definitely adds to my feelings of wanting to support individuals who are not being supported,” she said, according to The Hill. “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.”
Holstine said she learned that President Trump would also be on the field before she made the decision to kneel. She said the teachers being honored were told they could place their hand on their heart or not during the playing of the National Anthem.
“It’s really Martin Luther King Jr. says it best: ‘Nobody’s free until we’re all free,’” she said.
Holstine, who had said she is a “gender non-conforming lesbian” has made news previously. In April of 2019, she boycotted a White House ceremony honoring the country’s top teachers and said that President Trump and his administration hate immigrant, refugee and LGBTQ students, according to Southwest News Media.