Take a Knee Nation
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Race, Police Violence and the Right to Protest

FEBRUARY 3 + 4, 2018

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02.03.18 + 02.04.18

THE take a knee CONFERENCE

On the weekend of professional football’s Big Game we are hosting a conference on race, police violence

and the right to protest followed by a protest and rally of our own on Sunday February 4.

The purpose of the conference is to bring together everyone across the country who has protested police brutality, especially those who have taken a knee to protest police violence and the families of victims particularly those who have remained on the front lines in this struggle. The conference is designed to deepen our understanding of the issues of police violence, racism and our right to protest. It’s also an opportunity to meet and be in community and fellowship with others in this struggle for justice. It’s a chance to work together to come up with ways we can continue to put pressure on this government to end this scourge on our society.

Who is invited?

Students, athletes and cheerleaders who have taken a knee to protest police violence and racism. Families of the victims of police violence, activists and others who have and continue to participate in the struggle against police violence and racism.


Take A Knee Nation is an organization that includes Twin Cities Take A Knee, students, cheerleaders and athletes from around the US who have taken a knee to protest police violence, along with the families and friends of victims of police violence and activists who have committed to the struggle against police violence and racism.

Benefits of the Conference

  • A chance to see that you are not alone and to rub shoulders meet and strategize with other courageous and dedicated activists like yourselves who are on the front lines in the fight against police violence and racism and to organize around your state and region
  • A chance to help decide the way forward in the struggle against police violence
  • Workshops that aim to enhance knowledge about the history and role of police in US society the confluence of race and class and the right to protest

your donations will be used for food, transportation, materials, and space needed for the conference. 


The Conference is grass roots, you will hear from fellow activists students and others on the ground in this struggle. 

Saturday 1pm - 7pm

Saturday's MC: Olivia House of Take A Knee Nation and Augsburg University soccer player who has Taken A Knee.

  • 1:00pm Opening Plenary — The problem of police violence and what can be done about it.
    Nkume Boja Brock Satter from Boston Mass Action Against Police Brutality.

    PANEL DISCUSSION / Q&A   Facilitator: Toni Taylor an activist from St. Louis (mother of Carey Ball Jr killed by St Louis police 2013):  Mothers, family members, and friends share their experiences of losing a loved one to police violence.
  • 2:30pm Workshop — RACE: THE INTERSECTION OF CLASS & RACE. Why is police violence not limited to Blacks and POC?
  • 4:00pm Workshop  POLICE VIOLENCE: Why is there a term “police violence"? The history and role of police in the US.
  • 5:30pm Plenary  How do we build a movement? How should we relate? What are the obstacles, detractions and distractions? Brian Taylor from Cincinnati Black Lives Matter.

    Facilitators: Brian Taylor from Cincinnati BLM, Dr. Rose Brewer U of M professor African Africana Studies and Women's Studies, Mona Jenkins from Cincinnati BLM.
  • 7:00pm Dinner

Sunday — 10 am

Sunday's MC: Kevin Williams of Take A Knee Nation and co-visionary of Take A Knee Conference.
Word of encouragement from invited VIP.

  • 10:00am Brunch
  • 11:00am Plenary — WHY PROTEST: The necessity of resistance. Mel Reeves from Take A Knee Nation, and human rights activist/organizer/writer/human being.

PANEL DISCUSSION / Q& A  — Youth who Take A Knee: Olivia House, Alyssa Parker, and local guests.

  • 12:00pm Workshop — THE RIGHT TO PROTEST: Where did these rights come from? What are our Rights? How do we protect them? 
  • 1:30 pm Conferee Gathering — Conference Referendum: attendees draft a Declaration about police violence and propose the way forward after Minneapolis.
  • 2:30 pm Closing — Recognition and awards presentation,  announcing Declaration, and agreed upon demands. After Minneapolis action plan: How to keep the Movement against Police Violence alive.
  • 3:40 pm Depart for TAKE A KNEE RALLY at US Bank Stadium.
  • 4:00 pm TAKE A KNEE RALLY — The rally will be held as close to US Bank Stadium as possible. Authorities this year have placed a five block perimeter around the event.

Thank you to our sponsors

African and African American Studies Dept University of Minnesota, Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship (Augsburg University), and Summit Academy OIC



Registration is free however donations will be accepted. You will need to register so we can better estimate the amount of meals needed for the conference.

Please register by filling out the form below.  

Name *


Foss Center, Augsburg Universy
625 22nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454



It will be too expensive to fly into Mpls/St Paul the weekend of the Big Game so we recommend chartering buses. We encourage you to fundraise in your city so that families of victims and youth who may not be able to afford the agreed upon fee per person for a chartered bus.



The host committee “Take A Knee Twin Cities” will provide dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday.




The host committee has secured private homes, dorms and church basements. Participants are encouraged to bring bed rolls and sleeping bags. People over 50 will be given priority in housing.Attendees over 35 will be placed in private homes.


This conference gives us a chance to keep up the pressure. We can’t let up on them [police] if we don’t keep the pressure, they will continue to abuse people
— Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile who was gunned down by police on July 10, 2016 in Falcon Heights (St Paul) Minnesota, during a traffic stop while sitting in his car. His killer, Geronimo Yanez, was allowed to go free after a jury refused to convict him of his crime.


"I am Toni Taylor from St. Louis, Missouri. 

The Mother of Cary Ball Jr killed April 24, 2013 by two St Louis Police. 

The reason I'm coming to The Conference is to Stand Up and Speak Up against police brutality and all injustices around the world #JusticeForCaryBallJr #JusticeForAll #JailKillerCops"


Toni Taylor

Mother of Cary Ball Jr


"I'm going"

Alyssa Parker

"I was asked by the schools administration if she could take a knee before the anthem and then stand for the anthem."

Alyssa responded to the school administration...

“When it comes to Black lives being taken, that’s not something you can compromise on. This isn’t the type of thing that can be compromised.”

Parker quit her Buena Vista University cheerleading team after the administration created a policy saying that no student athletes or cheerleader could take a knee and remain on the team. Parker stuck to her principles and quit


"Not only am I peaceful protesting, but I’m protesting as a primary source. I am a young black man in America. I’ve had to deal with certain things that other people will never have to deal with.” Michael Lynn III

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"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,"

Kaepernick said, in a press conference following a game on August 26th

"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The taking of a knee by Colin Kaepernick to protest police violence and racist oppression in the US has sparked a national effort to address the issue by taking a knee. The protests are keeping the issue of police violence in the national spotlight and is beginning to force those in power to try to stop a Movement they fear may force them into concessions.

As a result the message opposing police violence and racism has morphed into a debate about the right to protest itself, as the NFL owners, President Trump and to a lesser extent corporate America seek to shut down the ability of players to exercise their Constitutional rights.



In August of 2016 the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick quietly sat during the playing of the national anthem later switching from sitting to taking a knee. Initially his action went almost unnoticed, but eventually that simple gesture, that moment launched a blossoming Movement to demand an end to police violence, that has a momentum all its own, as people far and wide have emulated the courageous quarterback. 

NFL players have continued to take a knee and so have lots of courageous young people in high schools and colleges and universities across the nation. Activists have also taken a knee at NFL stadiums before games in cities all over the US including, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis.


"Don't let the love for a symbol overrule the love for your fellow human." Arian Foster


Timeline of beginning acts of protest against police brutality


Aug. 14 and Aug. 20 — Kaepernick goes unnoticed while sitting during the anthem

Aug. 26 — Kaepernick gains attention for his protest

Sept. 1 — Kaepernick takes a knee during the anthem and is joined by teammate Eric Reid

Sept. 1 — Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks sits during the national anthem

Sept. 4 — Megan Rapinoe kneels during the national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick

Sept. 9 — Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall takes a knee during the national anthem at the NFL regular season opener

Sept. 11 — Seahawks, Dolphins, Chiefs and Patriots players demonstrate during national anthem

Sept. 12 — Eric Reid kneels alongside Colin Kaepernick. 49ers teammates and Rams players raise their fists

Sept. 16 — All of Garfield High School's football players and coaches kneel during the national anthem

Sept. 16 — Twelve high school football players in Sacramento take a knee during the national anthem

Sept. 17 — Howard University cheerleaders kneel during the national anthem

Sept. 18 — More 49ers join Kaepernick, Dolphins continue protest

Sept. 19 — Four Eagles raise their fists during the anthem

Sept. 20 — Honor Band kneels while playing the national anthem before A's game

Sept. 21 — Entire Indiana Fever team and two Phoenix Mercury players kneel during the national anthem