Minnesota’s 2018-19 “Teacher of the Year” took a knee during the National Anthem at the NCAA football National Championship game Monday night … in protest of the treatment of “communities that are […] oppressed under the Trump administration.”
Kelly Holstine, who was being honored with other “Teachers of the Year,” tweeted out Martin Luther King Jr.’s line that “No one is free until we are all free.”
According to Fox News, Holstine, an English teacher in the town of Shakopee, said “I think 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.
“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.”
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
Holstine said she had consulted with other teachers beforehand and decided that it was not enough to simply not place her hand on her heart during the National Anthem.
She said that others who realized what she was doing were “very supportive.”
“Not everybody is given the opportunity to have a voice, and I can take a small moment, a respectful moment of protest, and exercise my First Amendment rights, and stand up for my students and for vulnerable adults and for people who are not treated in the way that they should be,” she said. “It feels like my responsibility to do that.”
ESPN Soccer reports Holstine is also the director of educational equity for the “LGBTQ+ activist organization” OutFront Minnesota. She was chosen for her teaching award by the group Education Minnesota.