In the fall of 2016, football player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in the United States, and has since become a household name and the face of the #TakeAKnee campaign that has spread across the football industry, drawing national praise from some and heated criticism from others, including the President.
Currently caught in a career limbo (the former 49ers quarterback opted out of his contract early last year and remains unsigned, though there are allegations that the NFL blackballed him because of his on-field politics) Kaepernick has shifted his efforts to full-time philanthropy.
Last March, the activist-athlete announced his Million Dollar Pledge, in which he will donate $1 million over a span of ten months, giving $100,000 per month to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”
This January marks the last month of the campaign and to celebrate Kaepernick teamed up with artists and athletes like Serena Williams, Stephen Curry, Snoop Dogg, and Jhene Aiko to match their donations to organizations of their choice, including Communities United for Police Reform, United Playaz, and the Advancement Project.
The end of the Million Dollar Pledge comes on the heels of another of Kaepernick’s growing projects, the Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign for youth aiming to raise awareness about self empowerment, higher education, and proper interaction with law enforcement.
One of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and GQ’s Citizen of the Year 2017, Colin Kaepernick is entering the new year as one of the major figures of celebrity social activism.