Outward support for the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement has been growing, as has the show of solidarity and protest to the lack of action taken against police harassment and violence against African Americans. At the first Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee Meeting to convene since the State Convention, members of the party’s newly formed Progressive Caucus joined the protest and chose to quietly sit out the pledge of allegiance in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement.
Progressive Caucus member and Third District Democratic Elector Jack Schuler was one of those who participated in the sit out. He had this to say:
“I chose to take a knee during the pledge of allegiance at the SCC meeting because I wanted to show solidarity with the movements that are trying to raise awareness about the treatment people of color are receiving in the United States, especially African American people.
I understand that, as a white person, I do not experience the systemic racism that effects Americans of color. But I wanted to use the privilege that I do have as a white person to amplify the protests of those who are speaking out against what they experienced. So that is why I chose to take a knee during the pledge of allegiance and sit it out.
I am a veteran. I served for five years in the United States Marine Corps. And I took an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. And I believe that the systemic racism that we have in our society is a domestic enemy that needs to be shut down. I also believe that the systemic racism in the United States stands in the way of people of color from enjoying their full Constitutional rights that they are entitled to”
Pro football quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of this discriminatory treatment, later explaining “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,”(source). Since then taking a knee or sitting out the national anthem and pledge of allegiance has become more and more commonplace in stadiums, schools, and forums across the country as the protest gains momentum.