I defended my country, the country I love, in WWII but when I came home I was denied service at the lunch counter.
I defended my country, the country I love, in the Vietnam war but when I came home they turned the fire hoses on me when I dared to vote.
I defended my country, the country I love, in the Iraq war but when I came home the police still stopped and frisked me for no reason.
I am a person of color and I joined the military and I am veteran today because I love my country.
Yes I love America but America has not treated me fairly. America has enslaved me, segregated me, denied me the right to vote, denied me equality in housing, wealth opportunities and education. It has jailed me at in-proportioned numbers. Slowly I have seen things change, gotten better. But these changes did not happen by themselves I had to stand up to the country I love and demand that it lives up to the promise that it was founded on – All men are created equal. I did not stand up to America because I hate it. I did not kneel in solidarity because I disrespect it. I did it because I love my country and make no mistake it is as my country as much as anyone’s because despite the obstacles I had to and continue to endure I continue to create breath taking masterpieces, inspire others in literature, art and music. Produce life saving breakthroughs in science and medicine. I continue to achieve great things each and every day and with each step I take forward I leave an indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country.
So no matter how hard some may try I will not be silenced I will continue to shine a light on social injustice. Continue to demand that America live up to her promise. After all dissent is the highest form of patriotism and I love my country.