JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, issued the following statement today regarding her decision to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Missouri state capitol:
“I decided to not stand for the pledge of allegiance today to stand in solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon. I am not anti-America, and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand.
“I am doing so not because of past transgressions by America, but to call attention to current injustices here in this state and country, such as:
- The injustice of police brutality – the refusal to mandate police body cameras;
- The injustice of poverty – the underfunding of our public schools;
- The injustice of voter suppression – passing Voter ID laws;
- The injustice of not having health care – not expanding Medicaid;
- The injustice of unlivable wages – refusing to raise minimum wage and the right-to-work attack on labor;
- The injustice of unequal pay for women;
- The injustice of mass incarceration; and
- The injustice of economic disparity.
“The pledge of allegiance and the national anthem stand not just for what America is, but for what it should be. ‘Liberty and justice for all’ are not just words – they are our country’s ideals. We must commit ourselves to honoring those principles not just by speech, but also through our actions.
“This is why I, as a matter of conscience, chose not to stand today.”