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Why did 2 sixth-graders kneel during national anthem at a Mariners game? One girl explains

Two young girls kneel while performing national anthem at Seattle Mariners game

Two elementary school students kneeled as their choir performed the national anthem before the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians baseball game on April 1 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.
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Two elementary school students kneeled as their choir performed the national anthem before the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians baseball game on April 1 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.

A pair of sixth-graders are receiving national attention as video of their protest against social injustice circulates across the internet.

The Seattle students took a knee as their school choir sang the national anthem at Safeco Field on Sunday afternoon before the Mariners' game against Cleveland.

News Tribune reporter Ryan S. Clark posted a photo during the game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here at Safeco Field where an elementary school sung the anthem and two students took a knee while performing. <a href="https://t.co/HwHIsowsxN">pic.twitter.com/HwHIsowsxN</a></p>&mdash; Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) <a href="https://twitter.com/ryan_s_clark/status/980535423079346176?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Helena Gamet, one of the Mountain View Elementary students who took a knee, told KING-TV that she told her mom beforehand about her plans.

"I did this because I believe in the Black Lives Matter movement and I think that in this country, a lot of social injustice is happening and a lot of racial inequality is happening," Gamet told the TV station. "We're not getting justice for people of color."

The 12-year-old's mom, Angel Caesar, told the station she supported her daughter's actions. "You stand up for what you believe in, and it's my job to have your back," said Caesar, who is Native American.

Caesar said she addressed the pros and cons of the action with her daughter, who was reportedly upset about the highly-publicized March 18 police shooting of an unarmed man in Sacramento.

"She said, 'I wasn't using this platform to disrespect anyone or the veterans,'" Caesar told KING-TV. "... 'Because I respect them. I was using this platform for all of the dead people who don't have a platform anymore.'"

Reaction online has been divided.

"Awesome! Kids these days ...," tweeted one person.

Another tweeted, "Complete disgrace that two elementary school students took a knee at Safeco Field in Seattle yesterday while on field for National Anthem at Mariners baseball game. This is insane and disgusting!! Athletes bringing this about and WRONG!!

And some resorted to racist language to voice their disapproval.

Caesar isn't bothered by the criticism. "I felt proud of her," she told the TV station.

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
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