Updated: Nov 5, 2018
Thirty-one years ago on this day; November 3, 1987, the legend that is Colin Kaepernick was born, and while today is his birthday, it is we who have received the gift of his existence.
Born in Milwaukee Wisconsin to a young white mother and black father, he was given up for adoption. I dare not offer my two cents on the experience as it is not my story to tell, but today we celebrate a brilliant life.
Kap's birthday brings me to think about just how connected we all are and how nothing is left to random chance. Take him and I for an example. Before his decision to kneel during the singing of the national anthem; seemingly, we lived different lives. Kap lived on the West Coast, worked as an NFL quarterback playing his dream sport, and made millions of dollars doing it. I, on the other hand, was living on the East Coast, working as a mental health clinician, and making enough to keep up with the lifestyle of a city girl renting in Soho, New York. Long before that, I was born and raised in the island of Haiti. I made my appearance into the world three whole years after Colin was born, on November 30, 1990 and moved to the states at the age of five. I can imagine just how different our stories about growing up would sound; from birthdays, to schools we've attended, family dynamics, and circle of friends, but ultimately what brings us together is purpose. We are connected by our passion to see racial justice take form in these United States. You know, the kind where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are actualized virtues rather than old maxims.
Colin's acts of courage, both on-and-off the field, stirred up a call-of-action response in me to do more. While I have always been passionate about speaking up against racism, police brutality, and other salient issues that plague our country, God knows I didn't want to end up yet another Facebook activist voicing her opinion and arguing to the point of where you start blocking folk. I know ya'll know what I'm talking about.
And then one day it came to me. All of a sudden. I heard a still small voice prompting me to write a book about Colin Kaepernick. Colin Kaepernick? What about him? What would I say?what kind of book? and why me? These were just the beginning of a constant stream of questions that flowed in my conscious before bringing me face-to-face with destiny. The more I entertained the idea, the more attractive it became, but if i were being completely honest I was unsure of my ability to complete this here task. For one, I had never thought of myself as an author, though I kept a million journals, but an author author? This was uncharted territory. However, I can tell you with confidence, the moment I committed myself to climbing higher, to achieve something greater than myself, the universe began to knock itself out to bring me evidence of my alignment at once; thus "The Hero in the Helmet: Colin Kaepernick" was birthed. Since its publication just six months ago, my first published work is reaching goals, climbing heights, and making waves in an unprecedented and inexplicable way. Hearing parents affirm that this book is the tool they needed to have the talk about race with their children, and Teachers bearing witness to the increased levels of excitement in their students to read; as one teacher put it "they fight to see who can get to read the book firs in class" is truly an offering, all because one man took a knee.
On Kaepernick's birthday, I feel strongly that the measure of one's life should never be determined by the amount a person makes, what title one holds, or what families we are born into, but by the impact we leave on the hearts of man. Colin Kaepernick is the gift that keeps on giving for this reason. His way of life provokes others to action, to be a better person, to sacrifice for the greater good, to give more of ourselves, and most importantly to do it without grumbling.
Thank you Colin for working on my heart and my person. I am because you are. This is why we say representation matters. I can only hope that my book has brought as much honor and pride to you, as it has to me and children, parents, and teachers statewide. On your personal holiday, I am sending you the maximum amount of love and light, as you are a reflection of each. If only all of us could be half the man you are, we could make America great in an instant. Until then, helmets off to "The Hero in the Helmet."
Happy birthday King! #ImWithKap