I’ll try to keep this brief … it’s about Gwen Berry, Hammer thrower and political activist, who appeared to turn her back on the American flag as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was played at the U.S. Olympic Trials over the weekend. As the song ended, Berry put a black T-shirt with the words "Activist Athlete" on her head. And this isn’t Berry’s first time protesting; at the 2019 Pan American Games she raised her fist in the air as the anthem played.
But this time, this time is the last straw for many on the right, and many who are white. Following her silent protest, many on the right came for her; Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw says Berry should be removed from the team; Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, "Why does the Left hate America;" and former GOP presidential candidate and ex-Wisconsin governor Scott Walker blasted Berry on Twitter:
"What is wrong with people? Growing up, everyone stood for the American flag. Didn't matter your politics, race, sex, income, religion; everyone stood for the flag. It was one of those civic rituals that brought us together. It still should today."
Yes, all that’s over, to some extent, but we still see Black men, women and children, murdered by police for cigarettes and counterfeit bills, toy guns and failing to signal a lane change, broken taillights and walking while Black.
That deserves a protest. From Gwen Berry, and from all of us. It deserves a protest because these same white GOP politicians don’t hold the Capitol insurrectionists in that same regard. To them, turning your back on the anthem is a crime, but storming the United States Capitol in riot gear, racist shirts, and Confederate flags is patriotism … if you’re white.
"I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can't. That's why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE."
She’s just trying to make it better. And more equal.