State senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) did not stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday during the legislature’s annual veto session. In a statement from Nasheed, she says she’s showing support for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat down during the national anthem at recent games in protest of police brutality and social inequality.
“The pledge of allegiance and the national anthem stand not for what America is, but for what it should be,” says Nasheed. “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.”
Nasheed listed eight instances of what she considers injustice:
*The injustice of police brutality – the refusal to mandate police body cameras;
*The injustice of poverty – the underfunding of public schools;
*The injustice of voter suppression – passing voter ID laws;
*The injustice of not having health care – not expanding Medicaid;
*The injustice of unlivable wages – refusing to raise the minimum wage and passing right-to-work laws
*The injustice of unequal pay for women;
*The injustice of mass incarceration; and
*The injustice of economic disparity.
There was no commotion on the senate floor surrounding Nasheed’s actions.
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) issued a statement calling Nasheed’s demonstration an “occasion for great sorrow”.
“The Pledge of Allegiance, like the National Anthem, is an occasion for all Americans to stand together in national unity. 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. 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. Standing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and for the National Anthem symbolize our unity of purpose to keep America the ‘land of the free, the home of the brave, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”