Posts Tagged ‘Colin Kaepernick’

Celebrities Who Risked Their Careers For Human Rights: You Always Have A Choice

February 8, 2021

Smrutisnat Jena, writing in scoopwhoop.com of 7 February 2021, lists 10 celebrities from different walks of life who risked their careers for things they believe in. Beginning with a post in 2014 [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/02/28/and-the-nominees-are-oscars-for-human-rights/] I have regularly referred to the use and abuse of star power (see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/celebrities/), and the article below is a welcome addition be it that such a list always remains a bit arbitrary and in this case very US-centered.  Where they are known to have received recognition through a human rights award this indicated with a link to the Digest.

1. Nina Simone

This African American musician was also a civil rights activist. With her unique voice and powerful music, she would often talk about the injustice and discrimination that black people had to face in the United States. And more often than not, radio stations, at the time, would simply refuse to have her on or play her songs. 

Source: Phillymag

2. Harry Belafonte

Another musician, Belafonte had his boyish charm and powerful voice do the work for him. But he was also a civil rights activist and a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. Due to this, the white American media ostracised him, labelled him a communist during the age of the McCarthism Witch Hunt. See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/2083D5D5-2B65-456E-8BB0-9CEFEE7B3EC0

Source: Essense

3. Colin Kaepernick

The former NFL quarterback is famous for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and the judicial murders of people of colour. As a result of this, not only was he demonised by ‘patriots’, who believed that he had insulted the American troops, but Kaepernick also lost his spot in the team and has been a free agent ever since. See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/c871b795-61a3-40e8-8635-37aeb02bc205

Source: Sky Sports

4. Sir Don Bradman

During his years as a cricket administrator, Sir Don Bradman met with South African President, John Vorster during the height of apartheid. Vorster was of the opinion that black people or people of colour were inferior and thus would be a curse on the game of cricket. Bradman then reportedly asked him if he knew who Sir Gary Sobers was. He came back to Australia and said ‘We will not play them until they choose a team on a non-racist basis’. Following this he cancelled Australia’s tour of South Africa.

Source: Sportsadda

5. Muhammed Ali

The greatest boxer of all time was also one of the fiercest defenders of human rights on the planet. When his name was drafted during the illegal war in Vietnam, Ali promptly refused to go. This not only cost him heavyweight title belt but the man also had to spend his prime years in jail. He had very famously said: My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America… And shoot them for what? They never called me n*****, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father…Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail. See also: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/76C5F0C9-D414-3DC0-BB0C-AFBD1EEDBD6A

Source: Respectability

6. Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman

During the medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, two African American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the national anthem. They were also wearing black socks at the time to raise awareness about black poverty. The duo also had other symbols on them protesting the lynchings and murders of black people in America. 

Australian Peter Norman, who had been a staunch critic of the White Australia Policy, also participated in the protest. The three would never participate in the Olympics again and would be ostracised by their countries’ media for years to come. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/10/22/peter-norman-the-missing-third-man-that-famous-picture/]

Source: The Independent

7. Shabana Azmi

Following the murder of the communist playwright and director Safdar Hashmi, actor Shabana Azmi started protesting against the INC government. Addressing the crowd at the 12th International Film Festival of India in 1989, Azmi said: We filmmakers and film lovers wish to register out protest against the system that, on one hand, claims to promote creativity and on the other connive in the murder of a cultural activist.

8. John Boyega

Following the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, many celebrities stage rose in support of protests against police brutality. One of these celebrities was Star Wars actor John Boyega. Boyega, who was once advertised as a key selling point in the Star Wars franchise, had been gradually losing screen time as the series progressed. Many believed internalised racism was a cause of it. The actor was on the streets on the day of the protests and addressed the crowd: We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting…We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence… I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but fuck that.

Source: John Boyega

9. Aretha Franklin

Franklin was known as the Queen of Soul. In fact, when she passed away, people referred to her as the best America ever had. However, when she was alive, she was a huge supporter of Angela Davis. Davis was and still is quite vocal about black rights, human rights, which at that time was frowned upon in the USA. So Franklin’s white audience wasn’t too please about her association with someone like Davis. 

Source: Hollywood Reporter

10. Paul Newman

Newman was a  famous Hollywood actor and director with awards like the Oscars and BAFTAs associated with his name. He was also one of the more consistent activists during the civil rights movement in the USA. He even marched with Martin Luther King in 1963, along with his colleagues that involved celebrities of the stature of Marlon Brando and Bob Dylan. 

Source: Medium

https://www.scoopwhoop.com/entertainment/celebrities-who-risked-their-careers-for-human-rights/

RFK’s Ripple of Hope Award 2020 to Kaepernick, Fauci and other US leaders

July 29, 2020

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/04/22/colin-kaepernick-receives-amnesty-internationals-ambassador-of-conscience-award/] and Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, are slated to be among this year’s recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.

Other leaders to receive the award this year include Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America; Dan Schulman, president and chief executive officer of PayPal; and Dan Springer, chief executive officer of DocuSign.

At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress,” the organization said in an announcement on Monday

Past recipients of this award – which seems to be mostly a national award (not the same as the international Robert F Kennedy Human Rights award [see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award]- include former President Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/colin-kaepernick-dr-anthony-fauci-set-to-receive-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-ripple-of-hope-award

https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/509237-kaepernick-fauci-to-receive-robert-f-kennedy-human-rights-award

Colin Kaepernick receives Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award

April 22, 2018

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Show on December 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City.

USA athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick has been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018. The award was officially presented at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 21 April 2018, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of AI Netherlands.

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. [for more on this and other human rights awards see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/ambassador-of-conscience-award]

[During the 2016 pre-season of the American National Football League, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US national anthem, as a respectful way of calling for the country to protect and uphold the rights of all its people. The bold move was a response to the disproportionate numbers of black people being killed by police. It sparked a movement that follows a long tradition of non-violent protests that have made history. While the polarised response to the “take-a-knee” protest has ignited a debate about the right to protest and free speech, Colin Kaepernick has remained focused on highlighting the injustices that moved him to act. His charity, the Colin Kaepernick Foundation, works to fight oppression around the world through education and social activism, including through free “Know Your Rights” camps which educate and empower young people.]

I would like to thank Amnesty International for the Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. …said Colin Kaepernick. “While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people.
See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/05/07/ais-ambassador-of-conscience-award-2016-shared-by-angelique-kidjo-and-african-youth-groups/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/04/colin-kaepernick-ambassador-of-conscience/

https://thinkprogress.org/colin-kaepernick-receives-humanitarian-prize-a1b3ca0460cc/