teacher kneels during the anthem

Kaepernick Inspires ‘Teacher of the Year’ to Take a Knee During National Anthem to Protest Trump

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.

MORE: Kaepernick’s Girlfriend Says Trump Super Bowl Ad Is Reason She’s No Longer Dating an NFL QB

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.

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.

MORE: Kaepernick Desperate for Another Chance After Blowing Off NFL Tryout, Agent Admits

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.

“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.

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