Everyone has a platform. Some are small and some are gigantic. Some have been earned and some have been bequeathed. Your platform may encompass your children, friends, and family or, if you are the CEO of a large company, your platform may reach millions. What are we to do with our platforms?
in 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. His intent was not to start a movement but to demonstrate what was in his heart. It took weeks for anyone to even notice, but being noticed wasn’t his goal. When it was noticed, there was serious blowback. There is no question that his actions have hindered his career and millions of dollars in contracts. He chose to honor himself and his values and it came at a cost.
I remember discussing this with a family member. He completely disagreed with Kaepernick and felt that he was doing this action at the wrong time and place, to which I asked what IS the right time and place? Even though Kaepernick didn’t intend to start the movement that he did, which added to ongoing movements in the US and now around the world, he used the platform he had to bring attention to human rights issues in his country.
This movement has exploded all over the world and people are demanding change. It is not creating dividing lines, these were already there, but it is exposing them. The voices of the people who are tired of systemic racial discrimination of minorities are reaching those with large platforms and they are taking action. Platforms make a difference. People have been campaigning and lobbying for years for the Washington Redskins to change their name. They have now agreed to do so but, as my incredibly smart son pointed out, it is because sponsors (with large platforms and dollars) threatened to pull their contracts if they did not make the change.
The people used their platforms of various sizes to fight for change. The people with larger platforms are using theirs to leverage change. Strongholds are breaking down. I believe this is scripture being lived out: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms,” (1 Peter 4:10). Your platform is a gift, use it to serve others. Use it to fight for those who are suffering under injustice. Use it to elevate others from poverty. Use whatever you have in whatever ways you can, it makes a difference.
This morning I read that Kenny Stills, a wide receiver for the NFL’s Houston Texans was arrested along with other protestors who are demanding justice. The shirt he is wearing in his mug shot says it all:
I am very curious to see what will happen from here. There are large implications. If his charges get dismissed will the 87 other people who were arrested also have their charges dismissed? Will his arrest increase the pressure on the judiciaries and finally bring action in this case? How much blowback will Still’s get, because you know there will be.
Using your platform will cost you. It is worth the price.
I will leave you with a photo of Michael Collins on his platform. He’s there in the middle. His platform cost him his life but won Ireland the freedom she has now. Erin go Bragh!