Colin Kaepernick is making America great

In or out of the NFL, kneeling or standing, the athlete is doing exactly what needs to be done in the Trump era

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published January 18, 2018 2:18PM (EST)

Colin Kaepernick (Getty/Slaven Vlasic)
Colin Kaepernick (Getty/Slaven Vlasic)

Colin Kaepernick is back at it again. This week, the former NFL star-turned-activist, announced that he will be giving away the last $100,000 of the $1 million he pledged to donate to charitable causes in 2016.

So far, Kap has donated money to a collection of nonprofits, activist groups and youth programs, including the Coalition for the Homeless, Justice League NYC, United We Dream, Assata’s Daughters and American Friends Service Committee. There are dozens more listed on his website, with detailed accounts of where his money will go and how the funds will be used.

The last installment will be split up between 10 organizations that impact social change. The quarterback is calling it "10 for 10," with each recipient receiving $10,000 a piece. Rolling out announcements of the donations via social media one at a time, he's also cataloguing how other celebrities are matching his donations.

Silicon Valley De-Bug was the first organization named. Based in San Jose and Northern California’s South Bay, De-Bug works to support youth, immigrants and low wage workers through advocacy, organizing and multimedia storytelling. Kap’s $10,000 donation was matched by Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant.

Actor Jesse Williams jumped on board for round two, matching Kap’s donation of $10,000 to the Advancement Project, a next-generation multi-racial civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

Despite the flash that comes with those big numbers, Kaepernick hasn't just been writing checks or making speeches over this period of financial support. He's been doing his homework. His list of organizations shows that he's taken the time to make sure these funds get into the hands of people who are truly doing the great, important work communities of color and America in general require right now.

I hope the next time a politician or critic fixes his lips to trash Kap for taking a knee and creating a movement, they also mention all of the good he is doing and the many lives and communities positively affected by his efforts. Through them, Kaepernick is truly making America great, for the first time.

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

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