A University of Michigan student kneeled on campus Monday in response to racial tensions at his school and a day after NFL players took a knee to protest President Trump’s “son of a b—h” rhetoric.
Dana Greene Jr., a master student at the university’s School of Public Health, kneeled at the campus’ Diag since the early morning as students stopped by to provide him with food and water throughout the day.
He told MLive he thought Trump had increased racial tensions in the U.S. and would kneel until his “knees bleed” to prove his point.
“He’s made it harder for people who look like me and people who don’t look like me to walk this campus, to feel comfortable in our own skin,” the student told the site. “I’m here to tell him and our own campus president that what we are dealing with is not OK, it’s not right. If I have to kneel here until my knees bleed, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Greene penned a detailed letter to University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel explaining why he chose to take a knee.
“I will kneel in the Diag facing the flag in silent protest until there is nothing left in me. I am prepared to miss class and work for a simple idea,” he wrote. “I am not kneeling in disrespect to our troops or to our country. I am kneeling because we should be better than this.”
The student’s silent demonstration came a week after several black students were targeted with racist graffiti on campus. The school’s Black Student Union condemned the incident.
Greene also told the site that he didn’t feel former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s actions were offensive to the American flag. Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality at a football game in August 2016.
Trump – in a rally in Alabama on Friday – called on NFL owners to fire players who disrespected the flag.
Minnesota Vikings defensive back Harrison Smith (22) locks arms with general manager Rick Spielman (left) and owner Mark Wilf (middle) and owner Ziggy Wilf (right) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
(Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b—h off the field right now. Out, you’re fired!’” the President said.
Dozens of player across the league locked their arms or kneeled on football Sunday following Trump’s statements.
University President Schlissel released a statement indicating he respected Greene’s stance and said he plans to meet with the student upon returning to the school.
“I share with many the belief that our institution and our nation do not always live up to our highest ideals, including the equal rights we hold dear,” Schlissel said, according to MLive. “To me, the American Flag represents many things, including those very rights.”