On Monday evening during the opening ceremonies of the Sacramento Kings’ first preseason game, singer Leah Tysse stepped onto the basketball court and began singing the National Anthem before getting down on one knee in a show of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality.
As Tysse hovered on the final notes of the song, she sank lower to the ground, emphasizing her gesture, and causing the gathered audience to burst into strong applause.
Yesterday, Tysse took to her Facebook page to explain specifically what she meant by her actions. Put simply, Tysse wrote, she was taking a moment of recognizable patriotism to show her support for the black community and its continued fight against systemic police brutality.
“I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability,” Tysse wrote. “The sad reality is, as a white American, I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families.”
Tysse’s display of support comes at a time when the trend originated by Kaepernick is increasing in popularity with some public figures while drawing harsh criticism from others, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It’s unclear if the Sacramento Kings’ organizers were aware of what Tysse planned to do during her performance, but in a statement to the Sacramento Bee, the team said that it supported her right to express her opinions.