*Motivated by banished NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Baltimore middle schooler Mariana Taylor, 11, decided to protest racism and sexism in the U.S. and took a knee as her class recited the Pledge of Allegiance – a move that drew a reprimand from her teacher in front of the whole class, leaving her in tears.
But word of her brave act got a seal of approval from former First Lady, Secretary of State and Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Taylor’s protest took place back in February. As she began kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance, the instructor scolded her in front of her classmates, saying she was required to stand.
“Mariana became upset right then and there. She was allowed to leave the classroom upset, the teacher did not suggest any kind of support that she go to the guidance counselor. It wasn’t until her second teacher could not calm her down that she was supportive of Mariana,” Mariana’s mother, Joanne Taylor, told CBS Baltimore.
The incident caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in May and now, Clinton who expressed solidarity with the girl.
“It takes courage to exercise your right to protest injustice, especially when you’re 11! Keep up the good work Mariana,” Clinton wrote in a tweet Wednesday, highlighting a NowThis video that features Taylor recently testifying before a school board on July 10.
It takes courage to exercise your right to protest injustice, especially when you’re 11! Keep up the good work Mariana. https://t.co/vnGheuWyJ0
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 15, 2018
Clinton’s tweet comes at a time where President Trump has reignited criticism toward NFL players who don’t stand for the national anthem, suggesting threats of suspension for their acts.
In the video, Taylor defends her actions by citing a nearly half-century Supreme Court case called Tinker v. Des Moines.
“It is in my rights to be allowed to kneel … students are allowed to take stands as long as it’s not disruptive to the classroom, and I feel that my confrontation was more disruptive than kneeling itself,” she said. “And we need this policy change so other kids don’t go what I went through.”