Booker T. Washington High School students join nationwide protest, kneel for national anthem

Posted at 9:24 PM, Sep 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 10:36:46-04

TULSA - The idea started with one student and spread to a dialogue throughout the Booker T. student body. 

This week is homecoming at Booker T., and the sea of black and orange will tell you there's no better time. 

“Booker T’s homecoming is a longstanding tradition," said senior Brianna Davis. 

But Friday night as the football team was suiting up for battle, the crowd's attention was on something before the game. 

“I was a little scared at first because I didn’t really want to deal with the backlash from it. But it is something that I believe in," said senior Zahria Pulliam.

It started with a Facebook post by junior Jillian Owens. 

“I wanted to make sure that everybody that decided to kneel knew exactly what they were protesting," she said. 

The post said they're protesting the "oppressive forces" that want to silence those "brave enough" to stand against "racial injustice."

“There are so many things going on in the African American community, and I think they need to be talked about, and it shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy to happen," she said. 

Some students encouraged by Jillian. 

“It’s something to bring to your attention. It’s not to be disrespectful, it’s not to say we don’t love this country just as much as you do."

But also aware of the backlash it can bring. 

"Maybe it makes you really angry. I’m sorry about that, but you know to get your attention sometimes you need to be a little angry about something.”

The president was blunt in his distaste for the action by NFL players. 

But earlier this week Senator James Lankford said he stood for everyone's free speech. 

“If we’re going to honor all free speech and all free exercise of religion we need to be able to honor that universally," he said. 

Tulsa Public Schools releasing a statement to school leaders saying while it can't lead the protests, they honor students' right to do so peacefully. 

“I’ve gotten nothing but love from my school and I really appreciate that," Owens said. 

She hopes the rest of the country will take Booker T.'s lead as they stand, or kneel, together hand-in-hand. 

2 Works for You reached out to Booker T. school leaders and have not heard back. 

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