Local Black Leadership Caucus pledges to ‘take a knee’

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Members of New Hanover County’s Black Leadership Caucus announced their stand Monday – to take a knee – now during national anthem’s at local events.

The National Black Leadership Caucus is asking that people refrain from standing during the national anthem at any event.

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“Any way that you can promote the injustices going on and you’re just making a minor step to basically support what’s going on. Because at this point it’s not so much about race but equality,” says caucus executive director Josiah Bennetone III.

They are planning to hold this form of protest in response to the president’s remarks they believe showed a lack of concern for the issues in the African American community.

That’s because kneeling during the anthem began as a protest of numerous cases where police shot and killed black men. The president has called these forms of protest disrespectful to the flag and the military. Caucus leaders see it differently.



“A lot of people say it’s disrespectful to veterans, but what’s disrespectful to a veteran is to diminish and degrade for exercising their rights for which they died and sacrificed their lives for,” says Bennetone.

Jennifer Morin came to the announcement to support the caucus. She is the wife of a veteran and her father served in Vietnam. She says people are missing the underlying message behind the protest.

“The knee jerk stuff is not what patriotism is all about, so don’t roll yourself in the flag if you are not going to take care of the people around you,” says Morin.

The caucus says they will support and continue to kneel during the anthem for as long as they see injustice happen to those in the black community.

“We know when you try to encourage change, it comes with a price. At the end of the day you’ve got to ask yourself what you’re willing to pay,” says Bennetone.