He wanted to help youth. This was before he took a knee. Way before the movement spawned by that act began to spread around the country and the world, before the magazine covers and newspaper articles and think pieces. In fact, almost a year before Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem to protest police violence, systemic racism, and white supremacy, he and his partner, Nessa, drew up a plan to help educate and empower Black and Brown youth toward liberation.
That was back in 2015. Today, Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) has hosted events in seven cities, reaching more than 1400 youth. (The pandemic has put plans for additional in-person camps on hold for now, but the KYRC team is working on virtual solutions until it’s safe to host events again.) Based on the idea that resistance to injustice must be grounded in joy, they’re changing youths’ lives. They’re helping a new generation understand and celebrate their own beauty and power.
We’ve admired Colin Kaepernick for years and have been continually inspired by everything he’s done and continues to do. Which is why we’re so excited and honored to be launching a new flavor with him—Change the Whirled. All his proceeds from the flavor will go directly to KYRC.
Knowing Your Rights
The idea for Know Your Rights Camp came five years ago after Kaepernick saw footage of the murder of Mario Woods by San Francisco police officers, yet another young Black man lynched by the police. He wanted to help young Black and Brown people not only survive encounters with police but thrive, grow, and find their power.
The camps are designed for youth ages 12-18 and are organized around KYRC’s 10 fundamental human rights:
You have the right to be FREE
You have the right to be HEALTHY
You have the right to be BRILLIANT
You have the right to be SAFE
You have the right to be LOVED
You have the right to be COURAGEOUS
You have the right to be ALIVE
You have the right to be TRUSTED
You have the right to be EDUCATED
You have the right to KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Initially funded exclusively by Kaepernick himself, KYRC now receives ongoing and broadening support from partners, which ensures that every youth continues to attend camps for free. That means they can have fun and focus entirely on the experience itself, learning about everything from the history of policing and exercising their rights to financial self-defense and the histories of their communities. There’s plenty of time and space for them to listen, speak, laugh, and be heard.
Kaepernick is a hands-on host and organizer too, bringing in artists, musicians, activists, educators, and community leaders to help inspire young people to see themselves as a crucial part of a growing grassroots, multidisciplinary movement toward the liberation of Black people and the dismantling of white supremacy. KYRC is all about the joy of discovering who you are, finding your own voice, and dreaming of what you’ll do next.
When the pandemic hit, KYRC saw how COVID-19 was devastating Black and Brown communities and jumped into action. The relationships Kaepernick and KYRC had already forged allowed them to make an immediate impact—they knew who needed help, and where that help would have the biggest and most immediate impact. In response to the needs of the communities, KYRC has pivoted to becoming a sort of rapid-response team, channeling assistance and much-needed money into communities and neighborhoods that have been systemically and historically underserved and neglected.
COVID revealed to everyone what Kaepernick and our other friends and partners challenging anti-Blackness have been saying for decades: White supremacy is a threat to public health and a threat to public safety. The work that KYRC does is crucial to supporting and lifting up impacted communities and helping them thrive.
One of Colin Kaepernick’s favorite quotes is from Ella Baker, who said “Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” KYRC empowers youth and helps them to understand that they are the leaders they’ve been waiting for. We’re excited to be launching Change the Whirled with Kaepernick, but this is about more than a (delicious!) new flavor of ice cream. We’re committed to working with Kaepernick and KYRC to actually change the world—and every single one of us can make a difference.
Ice cream can help. We really believe that. Ice cream makes people happy and it brings people together, and the more we talk, laugh, share ideas, and learn from each other, the more good we can do and the more change we can create.
With KYRC’s 10 fundamental rights as our inspiration, let’s make sure youth have all the tools they need to see the beauty and power in being exactly who they are. Join us in the movement to end police violence, systemic racism, and white supremacy today, so that we can create a better, more just and vibrant world.
Learn More About Colin Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled™ flavor.
Learn More About KYRC