In a recent exclusive interview with Paper Magazine, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick discussed his Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) and the moment that began his protest during the singing of the national anthem before games on NFL football fields.
It was December 2, 2015. Five San Francisco police officers shot and killed 26-year-old Mario Woods. Kap said: "The discussion happened shortly after the execution of Mario Woods."
The murder spurred Kap into action, something he was reportedly figuring out how to do. In the same Paper Magazine exclusive, Kap’s girlfriend, Nessa, talked of the ex QB’s commitment to the cause, saying: "If Colin wasn't reviewing a playbook, he was reading a history book."
Kap was particularly influenced by the work of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, co-founders of the Black Panther Party. It was Seale and Newton’s road map to Black Freedom coupled with the continuous murder of unarmed people of color by police that the genesis, of what is now KYRC, was formed.
"Oscar Grant, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice. What has changed? Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray. The Panthers' demands are still alive today because the police are still killing us today," said Kap.
Kap and Nessa began to put a plan into motion, and the result is KYRC, a traveling youth-empowerment initiative. KYRC’s roots are steeped in the tradition and spirit of the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Platform. According to Kap, they are for Black people, particularly Black youth, to know the following:
You have the right to be Free
You have the right to be Healthy
You have the right to be Brilliant
You have the right to be Safe
You have the right to be Loved
You have the right to be Courageous
You have the right to be Alive
You have the right to be Trusted
You have the right to be Educated
You have the right to Know Your Rights
Since the first camp in 2016, the number of volunteers has increased and six additional camps in Harlem, Chicago, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Miami and Baltimore have taken place. Camps are free to all youth and subsidized by Kap and through donations.