Countless athletes and celebrities have joined Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem, and on Monday night (Oct. 11), singer Leah Tysse took a new kind of stand: kneeling while performing the song.
Tysse was called upon to deliver the national anthem during the Sacramento Kings game, and as she ended her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” she kneeled to protest “injustice” in America.
“This act embodies the conflict many of us feel,” Tysse explained of her actions in a Facebook post following her performance. “I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans. I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do.”
The act comes days before Colin Kaepernick is set to start as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Despite the criticism he’s faced, he’s continued to protest the anthem during games and has garnered support from some fellow athletes and celebrities.
Tysse further explained her own protest and urged her followers to vote. “The sad reality is, as a white American I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people.” she writes. “Whether or not you can see if from your vantage point, there is a deep system of institutionalized racism in America, from everyday discrimination to disproportionate incarceration of people of color to people losing their lives at the hands of the police simply for being black. This is not who we claim to be as a nation. It is wrong and I won’t stand for it. #solidarity #pleasevote.”
Watch Leah Tysse perform the national anthem below: