On or off the football field, Colin Kaepernick never slows down. We saw that up close when we started collaborating with him on Change the Whirled. He’s got a 24/7 commitment to learning, growing, creating, organizing, giving back to the community, and fighting for justice that inspires everyone around him.
When we announced the launch of Change the Whirled, we talked about some of the projects and programs that he’d started and established over the years. Recently we checked back in with Kaepernick and his team to find out what they’ve been up to since then. Let’s just put it this way: He’s been busy! Here are some highlights.
Item number 1
The Autopsy Initiative
Kaepernick and his Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) team developed the Autopsy Initiative to provide a secondary autopsy free of charge to families with a loved one who lost their life in a police-related death. An independent autopsy, used to obtain an expert and unbiased second opinion, can cost thousands of dollars. KYRC’s initiative will help ensure that families of victims have accurate information about the death of their loved ones. To date, since the program’s launch, 8 secondary autopsies have been conducted, bringing some peace of mind to grieving families.
Item number 2
Transforming Public Safety in LA
Before the “big game” this past February, Know Your Rights Camp worked with us to install billboards all over Los Angeles that asked people to support investing in programs that focus on the safety and well-being of communities, instead of contributing to the already bloated budgets of police departments. We also announced our joint support for LA organizations dedicated to addressing issues like food insecurity, houselessness, and mental and physical health.
Item number 3
Colin in Black and White: The Kaepernick Curriculum
Colin in Black and White is a Netflix limited series released in October 2021 that tells the story of how a young Kaepernick, raised by two adoptive white parents in a very white community, came to understand and embrace his Blackness—a process that made him an activist for justice long before he ever took a knee. To help viewers—young viewers in particular—grasp the history of race and racism in the United States, and to inspire them to create a world where everyone can thrive, Kaepernick and his KYRC team produced a powerful, and free, companion curriculum. As Kaepernick writes, “TRUST YOUR POWER. LOVE YOUR BLACKNESS. YOU WILL KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”
Item number 4
A New Children’s Book
Did you know that Kaepernick started a publishing company? His imprint, Kaepernick Publishing, has already produced two acclaimed books, including Abolition for the People, an anthology of essays on the abolition of policing and prisons entitled (which Kaepernick himself edited). Now he’s adding to that list with a title of his own. I Color Myself Different (released on April 5) is a children’s picture book about a moment in kindergarten when he first realized that he was different from his white adoptive parents. This is the first book in a multi-book collaboration between Kaepernick Publishing and Scholastic that will produce stories centering Black and Brown characters, voices, and narratives.
Item number 5
KYRC: In-Person in 2022!
The pandemic forced Kaepernick and his team to press pause on hosting in-person Know Your Rights Camps. Over the course of the past two years, KYRC pivoted and focused on providing assistance to communities of color that were being hit hardest by COVID-19. This was essential work, but now that pandemic-era restrictions seem to be easing, KYRC is ready—and excited—to get back to running in-person camps again. The details haven’t been finalized yet, but we can expect to start seeing camps back in action sometime this spring!
Item number 6
What’s amazing is that even with all this going on, Kaepernick is continuing to put in the hours on the field to make sure he’s ready if an NFL opportunity opens up. He’s been grinding for five years and hasn’t missed a step. We all know why this record-setting QB isn’t playing in the NFL today. But everybody also knows that he deserves a shot—so which team is going to step up?