US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe is calling for change.
The OL Reign standout has fought for activism, equality and LQBT rights her entire career. Most notably, she became the first non-NFL athlete to take a knee during the national anthem.
Now, Rapinoe is looking to help people see politics in an engaging way. On her Tuesday night appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the two-time World Cup champion shared what viewers can expect from her new half-hour special, Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe.
"I’m sort of on this mission to make politics cool," Rapinoe said. "I feel like politics is always this thing, and it’s sort of meant to like this or packaged just like like, it’s not this cool thing. ‘It’s difficult to get involved in, just stay out of it.’ And then people are like ‘I don’t really want to get involved,’ and it’s like actually politics is engaging with you, whether you are engaging with it or not, all the time no matter what.
"Your whole life is political and especially if you’re a Black person or Black trans woman or a gay woman like myself or a gay female athlete, our lives are political in so many ways, so I’m trying to break it down for people and make it a little more relatable and then get people energized in the civic process, and getting involved in just being more active in their communities, also for themselves."
Rapinoe called the upcoming election the most the important election of her life. She noted the 100 million Americans that failed to vote in 2016. While voter turnout is discouraging among young people, Rapinoe believes those who watch Seeing America could be inspirited to get involved in the civic process.
“When we all vote, it’s amazing,” Rapinoe said. “We should be trying to be getting as many people involved in voting as possible. It’s one of the greatest things about our country, we live in a democratic country, where everyone can participate and have their voice heard.”
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, many are seeing Rapinoe's gesture of kneeling in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick in a new light.
She began kneeling on Sept 4. 2016, just eight days after the 49ers quarterback gained notoriety for his silent protest.
She believes the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to “the lies told to them.”
I think people are just starting to connect all of the different dots. We’ve seen what happened to Colin over all of these years and how much backlash he’s got. But all of these things coming to fruition literally what he’s talking about being played out for all of us to see in these videos.
I guess my hope is that people are starting to connect the dots and realizing that we don’t have to live in a world like this, we don’t have to live in a world where we don’t have healthcare that’s adequate and our schools aren’t adequate. We’re one of the richest countries in the world. We can do better for ourselves and we can do better for the people that are living here. -- Megan Rapinoe
Perhaps the most important message of her Tonight Show appearance came at the show’s conclusion, when Rapinoe called for justice for Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her home after Louisville, Kentucky police officers allegedly executed a search warrant of the wrong home.
Wearing a shirt with the words “Say Her Name,” the 35-year-old said, “it’s a great time to arrest the cops. Breonna Taylor, Rest in Peace, you went too soon.”