‘Taking a knee’ spreads from NFL games to the Los Angeles school board meeting
Mike Szymanski | September 26, 2017
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When the LA Unified school board said the Pledge of Allegiance Tuesday afternoon, at least three people in the audience of about two dozen took to their knees.
Most prominent was Cecily Myart-Cruz. She is vice president of both the National Education Association and the local United Teachers Los Angeles. She was flanked by two other UTLA members who also went down on their knees during the pledge.
She joins in the national movement that started with the National Football League over the weekend after President Trump criticized the football players for disrespecting the country by kneeling during the national anthem.
Since Sunday, a high school girls soccer team in Maine kneeled during the national anthem, as did a high school band at the Oakland A’s game — and they were playing the anthem.
“I had to do it because of the climate of the country, and I will continue to do it,” Myart-Cruz said, adding that the decision to bend a knee was hers alone and not related to the unions. “It is about racism, and in public spaces, I will be doing what is right.”
Myart-Cruz helped shape racial justice within UTLA, according to her biography, and has served as vice chair of the Civil Rights in Education Committee and chair of the Diversity Advisory Panel at UTLA. She said students should know about taking a knee and decide for themselves if it’s something they should also do.
“I hate what is happening in this country to the black and brown folks, to the women, to the transgendered. It must stop,” said Myart-Cruz, an elementary and middle school teacher for the past 19 years, most recently at Angeles Mesa Elementary in South Los Angeles.
Then the 43-year-old laughed and added, “Of course, it gets a little challenging to take a knee as you get older.”