Embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, still unsigned, celebrated Independence Day with social media posts about Ghana, saying he was led there “tracing” his “African ancestral roots” and wanted to visit the sites responsible for African-Americans being “forced into the hells of the middle passage.”
Kaepernick, who drew national headlines with the 49ers last season for kneeling during the national anthem as a way to draw attention to racial injustice, shared his thoughts and posted a video on social media that showed him interacting with the people of Ghana.
How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home. pic.twitter.com/hniYGJeLxG— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) July 4, 2017
On Instagram, Kaepernick posted a lengthy explainer to his Ghana trip, starting with a quote from Frederick Douglass.
“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?" - Frederick Douglass.
"In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it led me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return. I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah's Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return.”
Kaepernick has used his time as a free agent by taking on multiple humanitarian efforts, including helping the homeless in San Francisco, donating to Meals on Wheels and raising funds for a struggling population of Somalia. He’s donated $700,000 to charity over the past nine months as part of a pledge last season where he promised to donate $1 million to help communities.
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