Students for Equity and Diversity, a student group which works to promote awareness of diversity issues, hosted an open forum Thursday at the SAC’s Multicultural Engagement Center at which students evaluated San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s recent protests.
“It’s really significant to have young people talk about these things,” chemistry sophomore Mehdia Mrabet said. “There are a good amount of black students on campus and … we need to give students places besides the classroom to talk about these issues in a safe space.”
Zoya Zia, international relations and global studies sophomore, said she appreciates Kaepernick’s bravery.
“I really admire his form of protest because it takes a lot of courage to do that. What I admire more … is the fact that he’s willing to speak up,” Zia said.
Imani White, international relations and global studies sophomore, said Kaepernick, patriotic or not, has a right to criticize U.S. law enforcement no matter the form his protest takes.
“There’s no right way to protest, and the forms that it take whether it be in the form of riots or in the form of peaceful protests, I feel like it’s still valid,” White said. “He brings awareness to the football community, and it’s something that is national so people in their living room are being confronted by this issue every time they turn on Sunday football."
White said other black athletes, such as New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, should have stood behind Kaepernick rather than criticize him as being disrespectful.
“He’s standing up for all black people or people of color who feel like they’re being oppressed by the United States or law enforcement,” White said. “It’s really odd for me to see other athletes come out and stand against whatever is in his right for him to do.”
The students also discussed whether or not the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted change.
“I think calling attention to the issue is change itself, and we shouldn’t disregard that because it’s bringing it to the forefront of people’s minds,” said Quynhanh Tran, Plan II and government senior. “I think that’s really powerful and it’ll improve our legal system somewhere down the line.”