Colin Kaepernick and his signature afro have become a symbol of black activism for the new generation, and in paying homage to Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton’s Ten-Point Platform, the former NFL quarterback is giving back with a teen camp that gives knowledge on police encounters, your rights, and self-empowerment.
In his cover story shared with Paper Magazine, Kaepernick not only explains his initiative through Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) but also reveals the incident that birthed his fight against social injustice for black people.
Colin and his longtime girlfriend, Nessa Diab, created the idea for the traveling youth-empowerment initiative ten months before the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback took a knee during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of police brutality.
However, shortly before that, it was the murder of a 26-year-old black man named Mario Woods in 2015 that fueled Kap’s passion for protest. Woods was shot and killed by five San Francisco police officers while walking away, carrying a knife and under the influence of methamphetamine. He was shot 21 times, six times in the back…and all five officers were let free.
Kap buried himself in books about the global struggle for Black freedom and self-determination like The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton’s autobiography, Revolutionary Suicide. He applied what he learned from his readings to formulate ideas for developing the camp and its curriculum.
According to the publication, KYRC serves particularly Black youth between ages 12-18 with legal knowledge for handling violent encounters with police and teaches how to thrive in the areas of health, education, tech, self-empowerment, and finance.
KYRC has installments in Harlem, Chicago, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Miami, and Baltimore with the most recent serving over 450 attendees. The camps are free to all youth and are funded by Kaepernick and small donations.
In collaboration with Paper, Colin curated some interviews of his own and shared thoughts from Yara Shahidi, Bryan Stevenson, Ava Duvernay, Indya Moore, Tarana Burke and Eric Reed for the Know Your Rights campaign.
Congratulations, Colin Kaepernick!