Free speech

Kamala Harris speaks up about NFL anthem protests  

US Senator Kamala Harris (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On Sunday, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California spoke out publicly for the first time on the national anthem protests that have been taking place before NFL games, in a speech given to mark the 150th birthday of the First Congregational Church in Atlanta. “Let’s speak the truth that when Americans demand recognition that their lives matter, or kneel to call attention to injustice, that that is an expression of free speech, protected by our Constitution, and they should not be threatened or bullied,” Harris said in a speech on the topic of the divided United States. In her speech, which was delivered at the second-oldest African-American congregational church in the country, the senator compared the actions of Kaepernick and some of his NFL colleagues, who have been taking kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Harris said that while the anthem serves a reminder of the military service members who died for American freedoms, she also argued that when singing the Star-Spangled Banner, “we also think about those marching in the streets who demand that the ideals of that flag represent them too.”

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