Kelly Holstine, the 2018 “Teacher of the Year” in Minnesota, took a political stance while on the field behind President Donald Trump at the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Holstine was one of the teachers who was honored during the pre-game ceremonies and during the national anthem she decided to take a knee 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,'” she wrote on Twitter along with a photo showing her protest.
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 previously called for a boycott of the White House for a ceremony in April 2019 which honored the top educators from around the country.
“I just decided that it felt like the right thing to do, to have a very respectful protest,” Holstine told The Hill. “It’s really Martin Luther King Jr. says it best: ‘Nobody’s free until we’re all free.
“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. It feels like my responsibility to do that.”
The honoree from Minnesota, Kelly Holstine, chose to kneel during the national anthem "to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people," according to a tweet she wrote, which included a photograph of her kneeling. https://t.co/qsysWnfvsM
— ABC News (@ABC) January 16, 2020
Holstine resigned from her position as an English teacher in Minnesota last summer and now works for OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ advocacy group.
Of course, there was a fair share of critics who did not approve of Holstine’s decision to kneel during the national anthem — we know how people get about the protests, just ask Colin Kaepernick — but she was widely met with an outpouring of support.