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Opinion: I Kneel With the Student Association

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       The University at Albany Student Association set a political event, Kneel with Kaepernick, on Nov. 13 to spread awareness on police brutality. Some may have an issue with the SA taking a political stance, especially with SA representing the college, where students pay an activity fee and may not agree with the political statement. But I support this move by SA because students at UAlbany are impacted

Raymond Strawn III

by this. We should strive for positive change. We are society’s future leaders and this could be a learning experience and may become a monumental historical event. Shouldn’t we be on the “right side” on this issue?

      Police brutality and mistreatment towards citizens affects all of us, including UAlbany students. I believe SA is reaching out and representing those students who have been negatively impacted by unlawful or unjust conduct by police officers. I am one of them. I might not have been physically assaulted, but I still deal with the emotional scars from the mistreatment I faced from a police officer, who violated my civil rights, and spread slanderous statements about me. All I want is the truth to be heard and an apology. Two things I will never get. But my mistreatment is not a one-time occasion.

      Before Halloween this year, I had a police officer reach for his gun because we had a disagreement. I did not yell. I did not swear. I am still haunted by this. And I am not alone. I am not suggesting all police officers act this way, but some do. And we need to stand and kneel together to spread awareness about this type of conduct. Because one day it could be you, or a loved one, that faces this type of mistreatment.

     Shouldn’t we aspire to make positive change? I don’t see the negative ramifications for wanting fair and equal treatment from police officers. Kneeling is a peaceful and respectful form of protest. I believe this is something we should all strive for and support stopping police brutality and ending the mistreatment towards citizens by police.

      We are the future leaders. Why not take political stances in college, where we are supposed to expand our comfort zone, learn new skills, and become better critical thinkers? I can’t think of a better way to achieve this than sponsoring a political event. Even if you do not agree with the event, you can advocate, speak out, and protest. This is an equal opportunity for both sides. This is real life experience that can help shape you as a person. We should welcome this as a learning experience and embrace it.

     Lastly, I believe this has the potential of becoming a monumental historical event. We have the possibility of creating positive change in this country. We have the chance of becoming the catalyst in creating this positive change. Just like the movements before us and the movements after us, we need to find the courage and strength to stand for something that is fundamentally right that protects not only ourselves, but our families, friends, and our community.

      It may be uncomfortable to some and cause resistance, but that should not stop us for doing what is right. Because one day, our grandkids may ask us about this day and don’t you want to be able to tell them, that you kneeled with the movement and help create positive change.

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