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Teacher of the Year kneels at a football game attended by Trump: No one is free until we all are

Kelly Holstine from Minnesota is an active leader and urges educators to be advocates and allies in the fight against injustice.

Teacher of the Year kneels at a football game attended by Trump: No one is free until we all are
Image Source: Kelly Holstine / Twitter

Ever since former NFLer Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem at a football game, the field has been an open microcosm of American politics. While sports has always been divided by the lines of race, gender, and class, it was one of the first times in recent history that an athlete had stood up (or, well, knelt) against racial injustice. Undoubtedly, Kaepernick inspired a wave of resistance amongst athletes. However, it appears that his simple act of resistance has surpassed the boundaries of sport, impacting several other communities. Recently, Minnesota's Teacher of the Year Kelly Holstine knelt during a college football championship attended by none other than the United States President, Trump to "stand up for marginalized" people, ABC News reports.


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Holstine, an English and language arts teacher at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee, was being honored as one of the State Teachers of the Year at an NCAA football championship game that took place on Monday, January 13, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Like many athletes, when the United States' national anthem was played right before the game, the teacher decided to "take a knee," dropping down to the grass in order to kneel during the entirety of her anthem. She took to Twitter after the ceremony to explain her decision to kneel. Posting several photos of the event, including one of her kneeling, she wrote, "Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champion Football Game. [I was] given [a] platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during [the national] anthem." Then quoting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., she said she did so because "No one is free until we are all free."

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But the real kicker was that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump were also in attendance. Trump, like the NFL, has had major gripes with Kaepernick and his fellow athletes who chose to join the ex-NFLer in protest. There is no doubt that witnessing a teacher, especially one being awarded for her skill and impact as an educator, kneel came as a huge hit to his ego. Though he is yet to Tweet about the incident, one can only imagine the embarrassment he felt. Holstine has been outspoken and loud about her activism in the past. In October last year, she led a TED talk titled Educators must be more than allies, in which she urged teachers to be more than just learning aides and instead, become advocates well. She asserted, "Allies are wonderful and we need them, but it is not enough for educators to just be allies. We need them to be advocates too." Holstine persuaded fellow educators to leave their comfort zones and "stand up for all of the human beings who are being marginalized or oppressed." It seems that this is one dedicated teacher who definitely practices what she preaches.

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