Pledge Of Allegiance Protest — City Council Members Take A Knee During Chamber Meeting

Posted On : October 20, 2017

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — Four of 11 city council members took a knee during a meeting’s “Pledge of Allegiance” ceremony, having been inspired by NFL players’ protests against inequality.


Sumi Kailasapathy, a third-term councilwoman, was one of four who knelt in protest, and she holds issues of social injustice close to heart.

Sumi Kailasapathy
Photo of Ann Arbor Councilwoman Sumi Kailasapathy.

According to CNN, Councilwoman Kailasapathy came to the United States as a refugee after losing her home during the Sri Lankan civil war.

***The Sri Lankan civil war took place from 1983 to 2009.***

The source states that, after moving to the U.S., she continued her education and became a professor at Eastern Michigan University.

Now, Kailasapathy works as a public accountant and has since encountered many forms of discrimination.

The councilwoman mentions as follows.

“People tell me to go back to my country and I don’t know how to tell them that this is my country, this is my home, and I work very hard to take care of and support my community. If I leave, where am I going to go?”

So, during Monday night’s council meeting on October 16, she asked several council members to join her in protest. According to CNN, Chip Smith, Jason Frenzel, and Chuck Warpehoski agreed to take a knee with their fellow council member.

After taking the knee, Warpehoski composed a blog post explaining his actions. In the post, he mentioned as follows.

“I can’t speak to what is in each person’s heart, but for me to ‘take a knee’ is an act of attention, of concern, and of respect.”

Likewise, Warpehoski said it wasn’t his intention to offend anyone by his actions — let alone dishonor those who have sacrificed for this country.


Overall, Kailasapathy said she believes there’s nothing disrespectful about kneeling during these ceremonies.

***And, honestly, they’re just customs. They’re not rules. The Constitution actually says no one should be FORCED to take part in patriotic rituals.***

According to the councilwoman, it’s our duty as citizens to contribute to this country.

If you are someone who works hard to make your community and country a better place, you have the right to be treated with respect,” Kailasapathy notes.

In this, she mentions that no one should judge and dehumanize you simply because you take a different course of action than the common collective. There is nothing illegal, disrespectful, or dishonorable about taking a knee in protest of social injustice.

***Why…the very rally against taking a knee is part of the social injustice being protested.***

Nevertheless, CNN reports that Kailasapathy and Warpehoski have received a lot of negative and positive feedback from the public regarding the protest. However, they haven’t received any backlash from other city leaders.

NFL players have continuously taken a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Professional quarterback Colin Kaepernick actually reignited anthem protests last year over social and racial injustice.

And according to the source, this is what inspired Kailasapathy to take action in her own way.

Even veterans have knelt during the pledge as well.

Yet, the source says she doesn’t plan on kneeling at any meetings anytime soon. By kneeling on Monday, she said she just wanted to “take a stand and get her point across.”


All in all, we’d love to know your thoughts about this ever-growing movement. If you have any comments about it, feel free to share them via our Facebook page.

[Featured Photo via Twitter]