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Colin Kaepernick helps kids know their rights, and their identities

The NFL, and everyone else, knows why Colin Kaepernick doesn't have a job. It's time for teams to start being honest about it, says Mike Florio.

Colin Kaepernick continues to want to play quarterback in the NFL. He also continues to want to do more to impact American youth in a positive way.

Enter the Know Your Rights Camps. Most recently, Kaepernick hosted roughly 200 youths in Chicago for the event, which followed similar programs in New York and Oakland. Dave Zirin of attended the Chicago camp, and he has written about the experience at length.

Kaepernick, along with 50 volunteers, gathered the kids at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Hyde Park. The volunteers included former 49ers teammate Eric Reid.

“I came here to support Colin,” Reid told Zirin. “I want to show these kids that there are people who want them to succeed despite how they may feel when they go to school. But I also came here to learn.”

In addition to getting breakfast and lunch, the children receive a T-shirt that says “Know Your Rights” on the front, along with 10 points on the back: (1) you have the right to be free; (2) you have the right to be healthy; (3) you have the right to be brilliant; (4) you have the right to be safe; (5) you have the right to be loved; (6) you have the right to be courageous; (7) you have the right to be alive; (8) you have the right to be trusted; (9) you have the right to be educated; and (10) you have the right to know your rights.

At the conclusion of the event, Kaepernick explained his personal journey of adoption into a white home. He said that he later traced his ancestry and lineage to Ghana, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast.

“I want you to know that our existence now is not normal,” Kaepernick said. “It’s oppressive. For me, identifying with Africa gave me a higher sense of who I was, knowing that we have a proud history and are all in this together. . . . So when you leave, you are all getting backpacks and inside of them are Ancestry DNA kits so you can trace your ancestry and connect with your lost relatives who may have taken this test as well.”

At that, the kids “exploded with joy,” according to Zirin -- a reaction similar to what occurred in Oakland and New York.

Meanwhile, a variety of reasons for Kaepernick’s ongoing unemployment continue to be articulated. Most seem flimsy, incomplete, and pretextual. But that’s a question for another day. For now, Kaepernick should be praised from trying to help American youth learn more about who they are and to understand exactly what they have the power to do in order to fully pursue the founding fathers’ belief that all humans are created equal, and that all Americans have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.