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National anthem vocalist takes a knee during Charlotte soccer match
'Fight for justice is still at hand,' Preston Poole says
 
Published Saturday, September 1, 2018 9:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

MATTHEWS—You can love your country and protest social injustice.

Preston Poole chose to kneel while singing the national anthem prior to Saturday’s United Soccer League match between the Charlotte Independence and Nashville S.C. The club was unaware that he planned to do so.

“I love my country,” Poole said. “I promise you, I do. America is still one of the greatest countries in the world. I believe I honor my country enough by singing the national anthem, for one, because I do still love America. I chose to kneel, because the fight never ends.”

The club’s statement: “The Charlotte Independence believes our matches are a place for all to gather regardless of background and ideology. Those who counter this philosophy do not represent the club. The Independence was unaware of the gesture prior to the singing of the national anthem.”

Said Independence owner Jim McPhilliamy: “Everyone is welcome.”

Poole’s protest met silence for the most part, with a few spectators shouting for him to stand.

“The fight for justice for black and brown people is still at hand,” he said. “I understand this is a soccer game, but we must still protest as a black and brown people.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a movement in 2016 by refusing to stand during the anthem as a form of protest. Two years later, Poole insists that a person chooses to do during the anthem represents more than the actions of one man.

“People think it’s about [Kaepernick], and that’s not even the case,” Poole said. “Black people are being killed by police almost every day, and I wanted to note that.”

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Poole has called Charlotte home for the last 18 years. He feels compelled to use his platform as an artist to advocate for equality through his nonprofit DOPE: Depending On Propium Energy.

“I also go by the artist name ‘Hippie Sole,’” Poole said. “I’m a vocal performance student at Shaw University. My story? I believe in the rights for black and brown people. My nonprofit is to uplift black and brown people.”

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PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
Vocalist Preston Poole of Charlotte kneeled to protest police brutality against black and brown Americans while signing "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Charlotte Independence-Nashville S.C. match Saturday at Sportsplex of Matthews. The Independence was unaware he planned to kneel. "The fight for justice for black and brown people is still at hand," Poole said.

Comments

You are a commie
Posted on September 5, 2018
 
Useful Idiot.
Posted on September 4, 2018
 
Beautiful display of true patriotism, Mr Poole. Well done.
Posted on September 1, 2018
 

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