“I feel like a hypocrite, singing about ‘land of the free’ when I know that only applies to some Americans,” Ervin said.
Janaye Ervin, a Black woman and a soldier with the U.S. Navy Reserve Force has had all her security clearances and equipment taken away and has been threatened with jail time after she did not stand for the U.S. national anthem while in uniform.
Evrin, an intelligence specialist in the U.S. navy and an eight-year veteran, said Wednesday in a Facebook post that she felt like a hypocrite when people from her community are facing systematic discrimination by their country.
“On September 19, 2016, while in uniform, I made the conscious decision to not stand for the Star Spangled Banner because I feel like a hypocrite, singing about ‘land of the free’ when I know that only applies to some Americans,” she said in her post referring to Black people in the U.S.
“I will gladly stand again, when ALL AMERICANS are afforded the same freedom.” Ervin said that she has served with the U.S. army since 2008 and that her protest did not compromise her pledge to serve her country and protect it.
However, despite exercising her constitutional right, “The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my naval job.”
It was not clear whether she was fired or placed on indefinite leave from the army. “It was my pleasure serving my country, I love it dearly, that is why I must do this for you. I will keep you all posted on what happens next!” she concluded in her post.
Shaun King, a New York Daily News journalist, first reported on Evrin’s post. “We must stand with her during this time as she has so boldly sacrificed her own comfort because of injustice and racial violence in America,” King said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Her protest seems to be inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against the U.S. national anthem during NFL games, which he started about a month ago.
Kaepernick has been kneeling during the playing of the anthem ahead of matches since late August. Several NFL players and famous athletes have joined his protest by not standing during the anthem as well as raising fists in solidarity.
Critics of Kaepernick have said his protest is unpatriotic and an insult to the U.S. military. However, he says that his protest is against social injustice and police brutality and killings of Black people.
The news came as Kaepernick said he had received death threats over his protest amid a major national unease over recent killings of Black men in North Carolina and Oklahoma and other parts of the county.