A Minnesota “Teacher of the Year” award recipient said she took a knee during the singing of the national anthem at Monday’s college football national championship to protest President Donald Trump.
Kelly Holstine was seen kneeling Monday night at the at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, as LSU took on Clemson in the biggest college football game of the year.
Holstine was on the field to be honored alongside other top educators.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump were also in attendance.
Holstine told The Hill in an interview published Wednesday that she wanted to speak out for marginalized communities oppressed by Trump.
“I think that the current environment that is being created and has been created in his tenure definitely adds to my feelings of wanting to support individuals who are not being supported,” she said.
“I really feel like our country is not serving the needs of all its inhabitants … so many humans right now that are not being given the respect and the rights that they deserve.”
In a tweet on Monday, Holstine referenced two civil rights activists as inspirations: Martin Luther King, Jr., and controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, “No one is free until we are all free” (MLK). #imwithkap #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/DimP3pBtBn
— Kelly D. Holstine (she/her) (@kellydholstine) January 14, 2020
Kaepernick infamously kicked off a fractious cultural debate over patriotism and race when he began kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality against minorities.
Earlier in the year, Holstine had joined Kentucky “Teacher of the Year” winner Jessica Dueñas in skipping a ceremony to recognize honorees at the White House.
2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year @kellydholstine and 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year @JDuenas24 are sharing stories about the issues facing their schools and their duty to advocate for their students. Watch live ➡️ https://t.co/vMib2EK4kX pic.twitter.com/CD5xoQ1QoU
— NEA (@NEAToday) April 30, 2019
“The words and practices and policies of this administration have been filled with a lot of hate toward the LGBTQ community, so I didn’t feel comfortable in that environment,” Holstine, a gay woman, told The Hill at the time.