As a child of the last quarter of the 20th century, I had the pleasure of growing up in the era of one Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali.
Braggadocios, brave, gallant, antagonizing, thorough, handsome… champion.
He was as close to a comic book superhero as a human could come without having been sired or birthed on four colored pages. Never did he utter the now famous cliche "I am no role model”... Instead he embraced it and embodied it, knowing that once one takes the center stage of our collective conscious, you are what you are… for the children are always watching.
With the age of Ali now physically behind us, I wondered when (not if) we would again see the emergence of a new “champion”. Many appeared with the potential to lead the diaspora. Woman or man, fists in air, chin up, Black without apology… but one by one they dissipated. One by one they either conformed to capitalistic gain culture or fell for the momentary appeal of fame… until suddenly, I looked up to see one brother taking a knee.
It was Colin Kaepernick, making a personal protest in honor of our fallen who were betrayed by those who were imparted with the responsibility to serve and protect us.
His detractors squawk "that's unpatriotic", the same as they did at Ali half a century ago… completely missing the point or perhaps, the point was to miss. Over and over, as Old Glory was erected, he would drop and take a knee with the same degree of electricity as the 1968 Olympic Black Power Salute, only half a century later.
Adorned with an afro and unwavering determination, Kaepernick would embody what the universe had empowered him with... a champion’s responsibility.
The children are watching and now, they are taking a knee.
~ Corey F. Godwell