Four city employees in Ann Arbor, Michigan decided to take a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance to protest inequality at a council meeting Monday. The move is receiving mixed reactions from the public and city colleagues alike.
Sumi Kailasapathy, a third-term council member, came to the idea after following the NFL protests, in which players have taken a knee during the National Anthem to protest social injustice throughout the nation.
To the councilwoman this is a subject that hits close to home; she came to this country as a refugee after losing her home during the Sri Lankan civil war, which took place from 1983 to 2009.
"People tell me to go back to my country and I don't know how to tell them that this is my country, this is my home, and I work very hard to take care of and support my community. If I leave, where am I going to go?" Kailasapathy said.
Kailasapathy asked her colleagues to join her in kneeling for the Pledge and three of them -- Chip Smith, Jason Frenzel and Chuck Warpehoski -- agreed.
"I can't speak to what is in each person's heart, but for me to 'take a knee' is an act of attention, of concern, and of respect,” Warpehoski said. He insists he didn’t mean to offend anyone. Does he read the news?