A Black Buena Vista University (BVU) cheerleader feels so strongly about kneeling in protest during the national anthem that she has resigned from the squad. Sophomore Alyssa Parker decided that a ban on the protest by the university president was something she could not comply with and is happy with her decision.
“Standing for something I know personally isn’t right, isn’t something I feel should be forced upon me,” Parker wrote in her resignation letter. “I understand in life, at times when you’re an adult you have to do things you don’t like because someone in power said so, but that is not the same in this case.”
The BVU President’s Mandate
BVU President Dr. Joshua Merchant held meetings with players and cheerleaders after several of them took a knee before the Sept. 30 football game against Luther College. Their protest, like many across the country, came on the heels of Donald Trump calling protesters like Colin Kaepernick a ‘son of a b*tch’ who NFL owners should fire. Merchant called the students’ display problematic for the school’s image and insisted that they refrain going forward.
“As we all stand to honor our national anthem, I have promised to physically stand by their side as a demonstration of support for their desire to impact social change and I commend them for their courage,” Merchant said in a statement.
— vdp (@vdpierre9) November 3, 2017
My Way Or The Highway
Merchant didn’t allow for alternative solutions to his mandate either. On Oct. 21, Parker and a few other members of the squad opted to stay in the fieldhouse until the anthem concluded. She was told that going forward, they had to be on the field standing at attention. Parker could have given in so that she could continue to cheer. But it is more important that she be true to herself.
“My personal strong beliefs on social injustice are my principles to my core, ignoring those and standing during the anthem is something that is problematic for me,” Parker wrote. “I have to live with the choices I make, and look at myself in the mirror and know that I made the right choices for myself and what I believe in.”