On September 24th, 20-year-old Kiara Lawhon posted her reaction on Facebook to the dozens of NFL athletes who decided to take a knee during the national anthem.
Kiara’s post was liked by friends who also supported players taking a knee after recent controversial comments made by President Trump. The president referred to players who have decided to take a knee as “sons of bitches” and implied that they should be fired.
Unlike some of Kiara’s friends who supported her stance, Kiara’s mother, who is white, was far from happy that her daughter supports the movement that Colin Kaepernick started in response to police shootings and brutality against people of color.
Kiara tweeted screenshots of her exchange with her mother:
— ki. (@kiaralawhon) September 24, 2017
Lawhon’s mother told her that she didn’t have the right to complain about any issues facing the country since she failed to vote in the 2016 Presidential election. She also responded to Lawhon posting their conversation publicly by cutting off her phone and refusing to pay her college tuition.
After some of Kiara’s followers suggested she star a GoFundMe, she tweeted a link to support it with has gone on to raise $10,185 of the $5,000 goal.
Kiara recently spoke to Vibe Magazine about the situation.
Vibe.com: Was this the first time you and non-black members of your family have had debates?
Lawhon: Yes, this is the first time we have had debates on anything political. Growing up, I was not very into politics and didn’t pay much attention. Due to recent events that have happened in the world, I began researching and educating myself and began speaking out for my beliefs.
Growing up in a white family, they disagree with how I feel and refuse to understand my side of things. This has led to a lot of tension between my family and I, but I’m going to continue supporting the ‘Take The Knee” movement and any other peaceful protests that fight against racism, inequality, social injustice, and police brutality.
Vibe.com: Your mom mentioned that you didn’t vote. What was that conversation like?
Lawhon: Long story short, my mom basically told me that because I did not vote, I am not allowed to speak out on issues this country is facing. The reason I did not vote in the 2016 election is because, like I mentioned, I was not extremely educated on the politics and I did not want to vote on something I did not completely understand. I also tried to register as a voter, but it was too late. I have educated myself since then and I let her know that I will continue supporting what I feel is right.
Vibe.com: What was your first reaction to her messages?
Lawhon: My first reaction to her messages was disappointment. A part of me wanted to be angry, but I also realized that she simply does not understand because she is not apart of the many people that face racial inequality and injustice every single day. I’m not disappointed because she feels that I am wrong, but I am disappointed because she made no effort to understand where I, as a biracial woman that has endured racism in her life, was coming from.
There are people everywhere that do not kneel for the anthem, but still respect and try to understand where those that do kneel are coming from. She would not hear me out about anything I had to say.
Vibe.com: As a biracial woman, what are some things you’d want to share with non-black parents with mixed children?
Lawhon: I would tell these parents to allow their children to express their feelings, support their people, and participate in any peaceful protests they deem necessary. They may not always agree, but they need to try and understand. With all due respect, a white individual cannot speak on, or for, the people of color that go through traumatizing experiences every single day. Even if nothing has directly happened to their child, it is happening to plenty of people that look just like their child. If you cannot understand or empathize with the problems black people, as well as many other people of color, face every single day, do not have biracial children.
Vibe.com: What does Colin Kaepernick’s protest mean to you?
Lawhon: Colin Kaepernick is a beautiful soul that promotes positivity and change that needs to be seen. I want to emphasize that this protest is not in any way shape or form meant to disrespect our military or the amazing people that have fought for this country. This also does not mean that people hate America, because we don’t.
This protest is aimed at raising awareness to the many problems Americans face every day. We are taking a stand against social injustice, police brutality, racism, and inequality of all people. People are not going to stand for a flag or song that is meant symbolize freedom and equality for all people when the system continuously fails us over and over again.
This is a peaceful protest that is meant to send a message. Colin Kaepernick deserves so much love and respect, but instead he is without a job and receiving hate from people who refuse to understand where he is coming from. I stand with him, and the many other people speaking out for change.
It is hard for me to imagine what Kiara must be feeling after going through this. Mothers and daughters often go through a lot but this seems particularly sad. What do you think? Should Kiara’s mother have cut her off? Share your thoughts in the comments.