- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Missouri state senator chose to stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance at the state capitol Wednesday morning in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protests against racial injustice.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, said it’s because of her love for America that she chose to protest its “current injustices.”

“I decided to not stand for the pledge of allegiance today to stand in solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon,” she said in a statement. “I am not anti-America, and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand.

“I am doing so not because of past transgressions by America, but to call attention to current injustices here in this state and country,” she continued, citing issues like police brutality, voter suppression, mass incarceration and economic disparity.

“The pledge of allegiance and the national anthem stand not just for what America is, but for what it should be,” she said. “‘Liberty and justice for all’ are not just words — they are our country’s ideals. We must commit ourselves to honoring those principles not just by speech, but also through our actions. This is why I, as a matter of conscience, chose not to stand today.”

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, released a statement in response, saying Ms. Nasheed’s protest signaled “an occasion for great sorrow.”

“There is no question of the senator’s right to remain seated during the Pledge, but it’s a question of the propriety of her action,” his statement said, in part. “I worry about the example she is setting, particularly for our young people. I have stood with Sen. Nasheed on issues facing the African-American community, fighting alongside her to restore funding for low-income housing tax credits in St. Louis, as one example. I believe our best hope for tackling the tough issues of racial unity and economic opportunity is through the shared commitment to the principles and ideals that make America great.”

Ms. Nasheed’s protest Wednesday came before Senate lawmakers voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would eliminate permit requirements to carry a concealed firearm.

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