Colin Kaepernick reveals 2015 police-involved shooting launched social justice activism
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed in an interview published Tuesday that his desire to start raising awareness about perceived social injustice began in 2015.
Kaepernick told Paper Magazine that the plan that eventually launched his Know Your Rights Camp – which aims to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders” – began after a 2015 police-involved shooting in San Francisco.
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“The discussion happened shortly after the execution of Mario Woods,” Kaepernick told the magazine.
Woods was killed in an officer-involved shooting in San Francisco on Dec. 2, 2015. Woods was found with 20 gunshot wounds, including 6 in the back.
Woods was a suspect in a separate stabbing and was carrying a knife at the time he was confronted by officers. While police said Woods never dropped the knife, Woods’ mother said in a lawsuit against the city that her son never threatened the officers with the weapon.
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Woods’ mother and the city of San Francisco reached a settlement in March.
After the shooting, Kaepernick dived into several books about Malcolm X, Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton. The books helped shaped his Know Your Rights Camp, according to the magazine.
“If Colin wasn't reviewing a playbook, he was reading a history book,” Nessa, a radio personality and Kaepernick’s girlfriend, told Paper.
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Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to perceived social injustices during the 2016 season. He has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contract with the Niners, but released a video last week assuring teams he is “still ready” to play if needed.