“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” - Constitution of United States of America, 1789

Please read it. Read it over and over and over until you fully understand it, and then read it five more times.

You see, what I’ve noticed in my 25 years as an American is that Americans only like the First Amendment when they agree with the cause. But here’s the thing; you either support the First Amendment in its entirety and 100 percent of the time, or you don’t at all.

The First Amendment was put into place hundreds of years ago to give all citizens the right to say and do what they like (as long it it doesn’t cause harm), to practice any religion they want (or none if they would prefer) and to give people the ability to hold their government accountable when they don’t believe they are being treated fairly.

It’s okay to not like something you see. That’s another right we have – a right to feel as we wish. We are allowed to disagree and we can even do it very publicly. What separates us from a country like North Korea is that there is no punishment when you practice the First Amendment. You’re allowed to do it without the risk of being jailed.

“The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one’s government, without fear of punishment or reprisals.”

I wanted to know more what “redress of grievances” meant and found the above quote rather timely. All Americans should be allowed to peacefully protest injustices without fear of the government retaliating.

You see, some people in this country aren’t treated equally, and there are studies upon studies to prove that. And so, in order for them to stand against injustice, they rally to “peaceably assemble” and “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Racism is alive in our country – the White Nationalist rallies have very well proved that.

NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem isn’t about lack of patriotism or the flag in the same way that Rosa Parks not giving her seat away to a white person on a bus wasn’t about public transportation. Furthermore, this may surprise people but money doesn’t stop racism, something that I ensure you black millionaires also experience.

Our nation is divided and it will continue to be. This isn’t going to get better, not while half the country is more enraged about NFL players not standing for a flag than they are racism.

Instead of getting on the internet to complain about NFL players kneeling and demanding that their First Amendment right be stripped, why don’t we ask ourselves how we can help? How can we make sure that all people are treated equally? Actions speak louder than words.

If you disagree with anyone kneeling for the flag, then show your support by taking a homeless veteran out for a hot meal. If you agree with them kneeling, then have a discussion on race with your friends and find ways you can help locally.

Change starts with you. Nothing will ever get better through words; it takes actions.