Courtesy Photo | John Lamb

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host “Stand Up for America, Take a Knee for Equality and Justice For All” rally Feb. 3 at the San Luis Obispo Mission Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event kicks off Black History Month and centers around social justice and the institutionalized racism that permeates society, specifically in San Luis Obispo County. “Take a Knee for Equality and Justice For All” refers to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s and other NFL football players’ decisions to kneel during the U.S. National Anthem before the start of games to protest racial injustice in the U.S.

Committee head for PolyCultural Weekend Tim Guerzon said Cal Poly lacks racial representation and social justice, which makes events like “Stand Up for America” essential for the community.

“Getting involved in various clubs and events like this that promote cultural awareness are an important way to gain a sense of belonging and support from people who share the same values,” Guerzon said.

Key speakers include President of NAACP San Luis Obispo County Stephen Vines, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and Linda Seeley of Mothers For Peace.

Keanu Lyday, a 17-year-old senior at Central Coast New Tech High School, will also speak about his personal experience with government aid that falls short of helping underprivileged families. Lyday cites organizations like the NAACP as leading the charge for justice for unrepresented groups.

Gay and Lesbian Association President Matias Bernal will also speak at the rally.

“Coming together is a way of resistance and it is critical to provide support to the marginalized groups under the new Trump administration,” Bernal said. “For me, as an undocumented and gay immigrant, I am personally oppressed by the laws and regulations that are put in place.”

The NAACP highlights civil engagement, environmental and climate justice and affordable health care as the top three issues they advocate for.

“The NAACP and The Social Justice League are two organizations that really just want change,” Lyday said. “They see entire socioeconomic groups being treated differently than some of the privileged and want that to change. The young people in this country are the future leaders and it’s time for us to step up and speak up about things we want to see happen in our country.”

Information booths will be provided for more information on NAACP. The event will also have entertainment with live music and drawings for prizes.

Donations are appreciated and suggested at $5 per ticket or $20 for 5 tickets. All proceeds go to benefit the NAACP San Luis Obispo community outreach programs.

For more information about NAACP San Luis Obispo County, visit their Facebook page. 

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