by Brian Lamar

I was known for saying that I supported Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests at the National Football League (NFL) games. Not because I hate America, not necessarily because I understood what he was protesting for. For me, it didn’t matter. He was protesting. Exercising his first amendment freedoms in a peaceful way.

As a former Soldier, I swore an oath to the constitution. I have honored and revered Old Glory my entire adult life in my personal and professional life. I still supported Colin’s stance…or kneel rather.

In recent months, we have been seeing a tide of change. Just like in any battle, the first guys to storm a beach are usually not going to have a good day. Just as in the “kneelers” in the NFL didn’t have a good time after they continued their protest. The NFL and fans made an example out of them.

I saw a quote the other day that said “Racism is so American, that when you protest racism, people think you are protesting America”. In many ways, Colin’s protest was viewed that way.

In the most morbid “I told you so” instance, the video of George Floyd awoke something in our country that had been napping at large.

The tide is surging now and to use a nautical phrase. “A rising tide raises all ships.”

Let’s continue to surge as South Mississippians. Watching leaders of industry, commerce and government all over this great state decide a change is going to be made to our offensive flag is heartening.

Seeing how multiple protests/rallies for change have occurred with no clashes between protestors and police is heartening.

Just like that phrase, a rising tide raises all ships, the tide for equality is coming in and the current is strong.

The Supreme Court recently ruled on two specific cases that set precedence on the future of rights for gays and immigrants.

The first ruling lays the ground work for future cases of workplace inequality: Bostock v. Clayton County (17-1618).

This ruling states an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

My cousin Amber, who is an amazing hard working, loving, caring person was fired from her job after she ran across her boss at a supermarket while grocery shopping with her female partner. She was immediately fired with her boss stating “This is not the type of thing to be doing in public, flaunting your gayness.”

At the time, Amber couldn’t do anything about this injustice. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, this sort of thing is protected by the Civil Rights Act.

The second ruling recently protects the rights of some immigrants in the Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of Univ. of Cal. (18-587).

In this decision, it was ruled the Department of Homeland Security’s process to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was arbitrary and unreasonable under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a United States immigration policy that allows some immigrants with unlawful presence in the United States after being brought to the country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S.

To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records.

To be clear, many of the undocumented persons in this category have no memory of another country and haven’t left the country in their entire memory.

Many do not even speak Spanish. DACA is not a guarantee that they can stay indefinitely. It is just a program that puts people in this category on notice that they need to work to find other arrangements.

There are many more injustices to be conquered in this country, but I must tell you that it is inspiring witnessing the courage, tenacity and hard work of patriots all over who see a wrong and are struggling to make it right.

And a lesson for all the readers out there who are still mad about Colin’s kneeling; I would take a non-violent protest over the mess we’ve seen in the big cities with building and cars burning any day. It at least opens things up for discussion.

Are you willing to listen?