I don’t know how much longer Colin Kaepernick will be with the San Francisco 49ers, but he remains a fascinating story off the field. In late October, Kaepernick hosted a camp called “Know Your Rights.” He followed up with another such camp this past weekend in Harlem.
The “Know Your Rights” camps work with youths from disadvantaged demographics to help prepare them for living in a world that has numerous issues. The goal is to, “raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.” There are breakout sessions involving financial literacy, nutrition and physical fitness, and pursuing higher education, among other things. Kaepernick is financing these camps himself, and is hoping to develop this across the country.
This recent camp over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend took place at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. This facility is also known as the Audubon Ballroom, and was the site of Malcolm X’s assassination.
The day included the kids getting a DNA ancestry kit. Kaepernick has mentioned in the past that one reason he has become more focused on these issues came from doing research about his ancestry. I don’t know the exact numbers, but a lot, if not most blacks in America can trace their ancestry back to slaves brought over from Africa. Given the lack of genealogy paperwork on slaves, it has been hard to trace lineage beyond them. However, the introduction of DNA testing has helped people find more specifics about their lineage.
Who we are as people comes from both your present surroundings and the historical culture of one’s family. When you don’t know where your family comes from beyond just “Africa,” it can be hard to get a complete sense of self. Learning more about where one came from can be an important way to get a better sense of who you are.
Colin Kaepernick has posted content on social media about his camp, most of which you can find on his Instagram account. Additionally, there is a great article in the Maine Sun Journal. Chris Petrella, an instructor at Bates College (Lewiston, ME), provided help on the history-focused sessions of the camp, thus the feature article. The Know Your Rights t-shirts are available at ShoePalace.com, and all proceeds go to support the camp.
Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the 2nd Know Your Rights Camp in Harlem, NY at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (Audobon Ballroom)! This is the last place that Malcolm X spoke and was assassinated! The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. - Malcom X Follow @yourrightscamp for updates! #KnowYourRightsCamp #KnowYourRightsCampNYC : @karlfergusonjr & @katiepiper