During the college, national championship game attended by Donald and Melania Trump, a former Minnesota teacher of the year took a knee during that national anthem.
Kelly D. Holstine, who was Michigan’s Teacher of the Year in 2018, was on the sidelines during the college championship game between LSU and Clemson when she took a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
Holstine attended the game with a group of other teachers being honored during the game for their accomplishments.
After the game, Holstine turned to Twitter to share that she took a knee because she was given a” platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people.”
She also shared an image of herself taking a knee while other teachers stood beside her. “Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because ‘No one is free until we are all free’ (MLK).”
In her, Twitter post-Holstine used the hashtags #LGBTQ, #blacklivesmatter, and #imwithkap.
Her last hashtag, of course, was in reference to Colin Kaepernick who was the first person to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality towards African Americans. Many people believe that has blackballed Kaepernick, who was the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick has been a free agent since 2016.
Holstine shares that she was aware that Donald Trump would be attending the game and that his presence was influential in her final decision to take a knee.
“I think that 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,” Holstine told 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.”
In 2018, Holstine was one of two teachers of the year who boycotted visiting the White House to meet Trump. At the time, Holstine told the media that she did not go to the White House because she was frustrated with the policies and messages of Trump and his administration. She added that Trump’s policies affected the students that she works with who face “discrimination and prejudice every day of their lives.”
Holstine taught English at a high school in Shakopee, Minnesota, but today she is the director of educational equity at Outfront Minnesota, an LGBTQ advocacy organization. Holstine believes that there is “not enough for educators to be just allies, we need them to be advocates too.”
Colin Kaepernick saw Holstine’s protest at the game and he retweeted her Twitter post about her stand on Thursday.