Why I knelt during the national anthem -- and why it's time to stand up

I am a 24-year-old African-American man who comes from a long legacy of people standing up for what is right. I do not have all of the answers and I certainly do not have a simple solution to these issues. By kneeling, I intended to stimulate meaningful dialogue and to raise awareness so that we will be able to find solutions to the problems that exist in this country. I plan on teaming up with the non-profit organization RISE (The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, to continue the push for change in a positive direction. I encourage other athletes and entertainers to join the conversation and to similarly let their voices be heard and take positive action.

I do not expect change to happen overnight. That is extremely unrealistic. It will take consistent work and an undeniable effort to make things right. It will take cooperation from people all over the world who, like me, love humanity. Hatred and division will only make things worse. Love trumps hate every time. And just as my village raised me to treat everyone with respect and to love unconditionally, we can send the same message to our youth and struggling communities—as well as to those who are charged with protecting them. My grandfather Esau’s motto was “Love is Progress, Hate is Expensive.” It is with the full support of friends, family, and community that I continue to fight for what is right.

Now that the conversation has begun, on Sunday, Sept. 18 I intend to stand united with my teammates and the Miami Dolphins organization during the national anthem, which I have done since my arrival in 2013. God Bless you all.