Denasia Lawrence decided to make a bold statement while singing the National Anthem during the Miami Heat’s preseason game. While wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt under a blazer, Lawrence followed in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee.
Lawrence sang the entire national anthem while on a knee in a move that shocked the Miami Heat organization. When asked about Lawrence’s action following the Heat’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Heat officials responded by saying, “We were unaware of it ahead of time.”
Following the game, Lawrence used Facebook to share her thoughts on the subtle protest.
“When I took the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Heat game, it was bigger than me,” Lawrence wrote. “Right now, we’re seeing a war on Black and Brown bodies. We’re being unjustly killed and overly criminalized. I took the opportunity to sing and kneel, to show that we belong in this country and that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us. I took the opportunity to sing and kneel to show that, I too, am America. As a social worker, I’ve worked with youth, families, and veterans and every day they all teach me the value of fighting against injustice and that all are treated equally no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical abilities. I didn’t get paid to sing the national anthem, nor was this moment about any sort of fame. Black Lives Matter is far larger than a hashtag, it’s a rallying cry. And until our cry is rightfully heard, protests will still happen and demands will still be made.”
Lawrence’s protest comes a day after Kaepernick made his first start of the season against the Buffalo Bills. Before the National Anthem was sung, Bills fans booed Kaepernick vigorously and chanted “USA! USA! USA!” as if the embattled quarterback lacked patriotism. Kaepernick continued his protest and kneeled during the National Anthem before taking the field.
Following the game, Kaepernick took a moment to blast NFL fans who think his protest is un-American. “I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody,” he said. “This country says it stands for equality. I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold The United States to a standard that it says it lives by.”
Lawrence is a part-time employee for the Heat, but the organization has yet to reveal if Lawrence will be punished for her actions.