The Missouri Senate began its annual veto session Wednesday the same way it does every day it’s in session: With a prayer and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
But one senator refused to participate.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, stood for the prayer but sat when the chamber began to recite the pledge.
She did so as an act of protest and in “solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon.”
“I am not Anti-America,” she said in a prepared statement, “and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand.”
She pointed to the legislature’s refusal to mandate police body cameras, underfunding of Missouri’s public schools, the push for a voter ID law, refusal to expand access to Medicaid and refusal to increase the minimum wage among other issues that inspired her to sit during the pledge.
“Liberty and justice for all are not just words,” she said. “They are our country’s ideals.”