Our voices will not be silenced

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In an unyielding yet not so surprising stance, Kari Lake, the former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, continues her resistance against the NFL’s decision to play the Black National Anthem before games. As the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions geared up for their matchup on Thursday night (Sept. 7), Lake took to the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to vehemently express her dissatisfaction with the league’s ongoing commitment to this pregame ritual, as reported by Fox News.

“I hear the @NFL is still trying to force this divisive nonsense down America’s throats. I won’t stand for it. Literally,” Lake wrote. “America has only ONE National Anthem, and that Anthem is color-blind.”

Lake’s remarks have ignited a fervent debate, further highlighting the deep-seated resistance from some quarters, particularly among white individuals, against symbols and initiatives that hold profound importance for the Black community.

The Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” emerged as a symbol of hope and resilience within the African American community in 1917 when the NAACP began promoting it. It was performed by a local student choral group before “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the game, emphasizing the anthem’s historical significance.

Lake’s tweet featured a photo of herself sitting during the Black National Anthem at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, earlier this year, underscoring her opposition to its inclusion.


It is crucial to acknowledge the historical context of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and understand its profound importance to the Black community. The anthem, composed by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson, has long served as an anthem of resilience and unity in the face of adversity. Its lyrics resonate with the struggles and triumphs of the Black American experience, providing a powerful connection to our heritage.

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” at NFL games in 2016 further underscores the league’s commitment to addressing racial injustice. Kaepernick’s peaceful protest aimed to draw attention to police brutality and systemic racism in America, sparking a nationwide conversation and becoming a catalyst for widespread activism.

Lake has consistently voiced her opposition to the idea of a Black National Anthem, asserting that “The Star-Spangled Banner” represents the shared values of all American citizens, regardless of their skin color.


In response to Lake’s refusal to stand during the anthem at Super Bowl LVII, her stance found support among Black conservatives. Former NFL player Burgess Owens, now a Republican congressman from Utah, and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder stood by Lake, denouncing the idea of having a separate anthem based on skin color.

“I agree with Kari Lake. We have one national anthem, and it’s THE national anthem,” Elder asserted, as reported by Fox News. “I am as opposed to playing both anthems as I am to the term ‘African-America’ and to Black History Month.”

From the dawn of time, we, as Black people, have embodied a dynamism and desirability that others have tirelessly tried to negate. Yet, what they fail to realize is that our brilliance, our resilience, and our undeniable excellence cannot be erased. In every sphere, from the hallowed halls of the White House to the pristine courts of tennis, from the commanding boardrooms to the hallowed turf of the football field, we reign supreme. We lift our voices and sing because, no matter the adversity we face, we have always, and will continue to, rise above. It is our indomitable spirit that carries us forward, and it’s a spirit that can never be extinguished. We stand unapologetically in our power, for our greatness is an innate part of who we are, and we will forever shine in the face of adversity – no matter what.

This ongoing debate raises critical questions about the significance of symbols and gestures in addressing racial disparities in America. While some argue that a Black National Anthem is a vital expression of solidarity and recognition of the struggles faced by the Black community, others, like Kari Lake, contend that unity should be symbolized through a single national anthem. It begs the question: When will white individuals be comfortable recognizing the extreme relevance of symbols that are essential to Black Americans and their ongoing fight for equality and justice?

The overt and underlying racism that some white individuals faithfully continue to display, not only in this particular instance but throughout history, raises a poignant and pressing question: Why does this racism persist? It is a question that demands introspection, awareness, and an unwavering commitment to dismantling the systemic and deeply ingrained prejudices that have endured for centuries. 

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