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Oakland High School Band Takes A Knee, Sends Most Powerful Message Yet

The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause

Call it the “Kaepernick effect” or call it a small gesture of support for those affected by police brutality, but it appears that silent protests at sporting events are spreading.

On Tuesday, students from Oakland Unified School District’s honor band took a knee during their rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” before the Oakland A’s game in the Oakland Coliseum. These weren’t pro sports players, celebrities, or noted activists. Instead, they were just regular middle and high school students concerned about the treatment of black Americans by police.

Some members of the band knelt in silent solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his message against police violence.

Instead of being reprimanded, the school district praised the students’ actions on social media. A Facebook post by the school read:

“Toward the end of the song, most of the 155 middle and high school students took a knee in protest against police brutality and unfair treatment of people of color in America.”

The students were following in the footsteps of Kaepernick, who has been vocal against police brutality in recent weeks and who was recently featured on the cover of TIME magazine for his silent protests. In August, Kaepernick told NFL media:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

According to The Huffington Post, police have killed at least 67 people, including 15 black people, since Kaepernick took a knee, with only one officer, Betty Shelby, being charged with manslaughter.

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