Written by Stefanie Sciolaro and Abbey Buttacavoli
OSWEGO, N.Y.– Almost all 150 seats in SUNY Oswego’s Marano Campus Center auditorium were filled Wednesday for the first Oz Speaks event of the fall semester. The event was a panel discussion talking about 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem before a game last year. Oswego professor, Brian Moritz, moderated the panel which included SUNY Oswego professors, Bonita Hampton, Kenneth Marshall and ESPN Radio Syracuse’s Brent Axe.
Each panelist gave information on the historical roots involving racial inequality in America. In regards to Kaepernick taking a knee, Dr. Kenneth Marshall said, “about time. From 1619 to 1865 when lincoln signed the paper freeing black people. 3.5 million black people who worked for free, America had 246 years as a nation of oppression and approximately 152 years as a nation of liberation, so we are better at oppression than liberation, that’s who we are.”
Axe said that he has talked to people who feel that football Sunday is no time for political statements, but people react one of two ways. Either they immediately are angered, or they think that maybe it is something they should listen to.
Bonita Hampton said for students to educate themselves that that they can fight racial inequality in America.
Axe explained that Kaepernick had taken a knee before, and no one had noticed. However, once the cameras captured an image of him down on one knee, there was proof, and it took hold. Axe concluding by telling the audience to “never underestimate the power of a powerful image.”
Other Oz Speaks topics this semester include freedom of speech and social awareness. Dates are still being determined.