Giving Compass' Take:

• Colin Kaepernick's #TakeAKnee movement and activism can teach us lessons about how we value U.S. citizenship and its tie to equality. 

• The #TakeAKnee movement is about loving America, but strongly advocating for this country to do better in upholding values of equality and justice for everyone. How has this activism played a role in strengthening civil society? 

• Read more about athlete activism and why it matters. 

Colin Kaepernick played in only one NFL game in 2017, yet he made Time magazine’s short list for Person of the Year and GQ named him Citizen of the Year.

Kaepernick started a movement of players kneeling during the U.S. national anthem to call attention to systemic racism and the dehumanization of black lives. His protest reflects a broader statement that many Americans, in particular, black Americans and people of color, do not have equal protections or safe access to even basic services. In short, they are not treated as citizens.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, citizenship is not bound by race, religion, or status but by the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality.  But this is an idealized vision of citizenship — it is not reality.

Just as mutual strength and support unite a team, citizenship is a common thread that unites Americans — as it does people in all countries. Unfortunately, in the U.S., notions of citizenship have resulted in polarized political debates. Too often, citizenship is treated as a clear-cut issue of who belongs and has the legal status to stay or travel.

Kaepernick has challenged us to rethink whether these values and rights are held equally across our differences. He has highlighted another way of thinking about citizenship, one that moves away from a strictly legal definition to involve inclusion, belonging, equity, and protection — facets of everyday life.

Kaepernick and those participating in #TakeaKnee say they love America but wholeheartedly believe the country can do better in upholding the principles of equality and justice ostensibly woven into the U.S. flag.

Read the full article about Colin Kaepernick's message by Sameer H. Shah and Scott McKenzie by GOOD Magazine.