Page 1

Volume 12, Issue 2

101 American Avenue,

Brentwood, CA 94513

September 2016

Making History: Long-time Couple Frenchy Bianchi and Madie Brookens Crowned 2016 King and Queen By Krystal Shahin Staff Writer

On Friday, September 23rd, long time couple Madie Brookens and Frenchy Bianchi were crowned the 2016 Homecoming King and Queen. Their win offers a fitting capstone to two high school careers marked with nominations and recognition and counters the old adage that “nice guys (or girls) always finish last.” Leadership student and News Editor of the Heritage Ledger, Madie Brookens (12) has been nominated all four years for Homecoming Court. She won three of the four years, twice, alongside long-time boyfriend, Frenchy Bianchi. What causes couples or individuals to be repeat winners? Students and teachers all around the campus know these two and describe them as “fun, enjoyable, friendly, and easy to like” “Madie and Frenchy are

Madie Brookens and Frenchy Bianchi show their fun-loving side while riding in the Homecoming Parade.

Photo by Maddy Samorano /Legacy Photographer

super friendly and they are genuine, I like how their re-

lationship is best friends first rather than them being super

affectionate on campus,” said Cailtlyn Summers (12).

Students even say the two love school and genuinely enjoy participating in the activities that are held and put on. “She seems to have joined leadership to make a difference at the school rather than to get credits for college or show off on her job application,” Dominic Quintanilla (12). The couple’s habit of downplaying their wins seems in keeping with that description. “I would like to think we don’t brag about the things we have won, we don’t bring the crowns to school and I don’t like to brag about myself since it comes off as [arrogant]” said Brookens. Frenchy Bianchi, Editor-inChief of the Heritage Ledger, takes a practical approach regarding why they’ve been repeatedly honored. “We know a lot of people and we really like helping the school and participating in school events. Maybe that’s why a lot of people know us,” said Bianchi.

Pep Band Provides Spirit at Football Games By Sydney Deane Staff Writer

A roaring student section, enthusiastic cheerleaders, and determined football players, a high school home football game wouldn’t be the same without the pep band. From the moment you start walking towards the field, you can automatically feel the overwhelming energy being spread by the music. The music has a strong reputation of getting students on their feet, dancing to the beat of each song. “I always see people dancing to the music, the band keeps the energy alive, and makes football games fun,” said Jianna Avila (10). The band itself is completely student run, and consists of a few freshmen, but the majority of the group is made up of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, all who play different instruments.

The pep band plays their hearts out to root on the home team of the Patriots at the game. Photo by Sydney Deane/Legacy Photographer

“The purpose of the band is to keep the crowd as energetic possible, with hopes of also keeping the players on the field determined, and encouraging them to play well,” said leader of the pep band Alejandro Lara-Agraz (12). The members of the band are constantly pumped at football games, despite the score. They never fail to keep the

music itself alive, and preppy. “In general, we’re a pretty happy group,” said a member of the band, Julia Dijogo (11). The band plays a variety of songs throughout each game, with a variety of different genres. From an excerpt of Iron Man, to YMCA, to the famous school Fight Song, a song that the band plays at crucial points in the game.

The Heritage Fight song is based off the Michigan State Victors song, also played by their band for the same reason. Although the music sounds great, and the crowd is moving around, some students feel as if there’s room for some additional development. They feel that the band needs some time to settle in with each

other, and get used to each other’s playing styles. “I just think that they need some improvement, which will come overtime, but for the most part, I think they’re really good! They play to hype up the crowd and not have it quiet in the stands. When I used to cheer, we didn’t have a band so it’s cool to have that addition to the football game. It makes the game livelier,” said Emilee Landra (10). Mr. Ernest, head of the band program, agrees. “There’s always room for improvement when it comes to instrumental artistic ensembles,” said Mr. Ernest. Whether you’re a fan of the band or not, it’s without a doubt that they elevate the mood of the game, creating an unforgettable high school experience for students at the same time.


Student News Finding Your Place as a Freshman By Skyllar Scrivano Staff Writer Flashback to the start of your freshman year, walking through the doors of a new place that you’re going to be spending the next four years of your life. For most people, it isn’t a very fond memory. Freshman year definitely has its pros and cons, and is a very big transitional stage for most. Adapting to a new environment can be scary, but high school is a place for learning to come out of your comfort zone and to try new things. In middle school, eighth grade was said by most freshman to be the easiest year, because they were at the “top of the chain.” “I think the hardest part about my freshman year is saying good bye to all my old best friends that I had in middle school, and learning to make new ones,” said Neda Moshini (9). For others, the scariest part about freshman year is simply just being a freshman. “I was so scared to start high school because I didn’t want to be looked at as fresh meat,” explained Kendrick Shaw (9).

Fortunately for the freshman, Heritage has an amazing Link Crew program to make the transitional stage a little easier for the incoming students. It allows the leaders to help by giving important advice and showing them the ropes. “The Link Crew was so helpful, and it helped me to make new lifelong friends that I will cherish forever.” Neda Moshini (9) said. Along with the amazing Link Leader program, Heritage also offers many clubs and activities so that the freshman are able to find something fun that they identify with, such as Black Student Union, Helping Hands, and Dance Club. Joining a club or a sport may help them adapt better, because in the club, are people that are interested in the same things as they are. Clubs make making friends so much easier. “I joined a club because I want to be able to look back on my high school experience and be proud of the changes I’ve made, and the people that I have helped,” said Trevor Moorman (9).

Improv Team Catches Stride By Brianna McColgin Staff Writer

The Improv Team has begun its eighth year here at Heritage with a new team dedicated to continuing its reputation as a fun and entertaining experience for everyone who attends. Some of their events include shows involving teachers, as well as other students. “It started a year after Heritage was open, because a group of kids wanted another way to perform and express themselves,” said Zac Mendoza (12), a current member of the team. Joining the team is a great way to get involved in after school activities; not only does it help with creativity but it’s a great confidence booster as well. “It really helps you step out of your comfort zone and it taught me that I can try new things,” said Charlotte Kinsella (12). According to Mendoza, being on the team has had a significant effect on his performance in school, as well as everyday life. “The Improv Team helped me with presentations in school and helped me realize that not everything goes as planned. You have to always be on your toes,” said Mendoza. Benefits aside, participating can

be intimidating. “It’s frightening going up in front of 300 people and saying whatever is on the top of your head,” said Cameron Bonham (12). Although going up on stage can be scary, especially for those who have never done it before, it’s a great way to improve conversational skills. “It made every day conversation easy going!” said Bonham. Even for those who don’t have stage fright, going up there and completely improvising a scene remains a difficult task. “It’s different performing when you don’t know the script, but creating something new is a wonderful feeling!” said Kinsella. The Improv Team has come a long way throughout the past eight years – evolving from putting on shows with a very limited audience with a few laughs, to selling out almost every show and making their audience laugh nonstop. Watching their peers be silly onstage has become a staple of HHS entertainment. “I like going to the shows because I know the kids personally and it’s really fun to see what they are like on stage,” said Autumn McKim (10).

JROTC students march in the Homecoming Parade held at the Streets of Brentwood. Legacy Photographer

JROTC teaches leadership, respect self-disciple, service, citizenship By Grady Spencer Staff Writer

The Junior ROTC at Heritage offers students the ability to learn valuable citizenship skills and explore the idea of serving in the United States military. Led by both retired and actively serving officers, students report learning much about themselves and gaining respect, self-control and leadership skills that will continue to benefit them in the future. The program is led by Lieutenant Colonel Retired Sparaco and Senior Master Sergeant Jeffery Jacobson. Sparaco served in the military for 21 years and has been teaching Jr. ROTC for eight . Jacobson on the other hand, served in the Air Force for 28 years. In order for his class to succeed, Colonel Sparaco, teaches students different character traits uch as, “leadership, citizenship, self-discipline, self-confidence, integrity, respect, and service.” Sparaco chose to teach because he always wanted to teach and he wants to see students, “be the best that they can be, to have them

(students) find their goals, and help them reach their own goals.” One student that has been influenced by the Jr. ROTC class is Jade Cross (12). She has been taking the class for three years and is an officer which is a highly respected rank in the class. She plans on enlisting in the military right after high school. Jr. ROTC has taught her about, “military background, leadership, customs, respect, and how to be respected.” These military background will help her have experience when she enlists in the military. Another student taking the class is Bryan O’ Farrell (11). Even though it is his first year taking the class, he is still very motivated to be the best he can be. He has already gained, “leadership, military morals, drills, and other training exercises” as he plans on becoming an Officer in the Coast Guard either right after high school or after going to Officer School in college. Some benefits of taking the ROTC class is that if you take

the class and then enlist in the military, you can actually get a higher pay. Another benefit is that you take the class in high school and then if you join the class in college, you don’t have to take your first year in college because you took the class in high school. In the Jr. ROTC class students can earn ranks, for example, students can become a Cadet by being active, taking on leadership roles, and participating in all of the activities. The ranks that students are given can be taken away though but it rarely ever happens. Students in the class have the option to be on the Color Guard. They go to the football, basketball, and some baseball games for the nation anthem. They also are in the homecoming parade at the streets of Brentwood ever year so being on the color guard takes on being active with school and community events. Overall, the Jr. ROTC class has a lot to offer for students even if they are not planning on going into the military in the future.


School & Local News Club Rush: Too Much or Just Enough?

Admin Goals for 2016-2017 and Beyond By Madie Brookens Staff Writer

Students and teachers alike explore the offerings at Club Rush.

By Faith Bough Staff Writer

Everyone stares back and forth at the clock, only a few minutes before the chaos begins. When the bell finally rings, students rush as fast as they can out the door to see dozens upon dozens of tables with frantic people beside them, shouting and waving to get your attention. When Club rush arrived, September 1 and 2, everyone scrambled to their places. Club directors, officials, and all the new clubs had been ready for what was coming to them. Welcoming new members during club rush may be exciting, but the officials express how much work it can be. “We have 10 new clubs this year, now there are 50 and last year there was 40. So it’s just hard to make sure everyone has all of their paperwork

turned in, but I’m feeling confident that everything will go smoothly,” said club director, Alyssa Wilson (11). The students’ feelings about all the clubs are varied, which is understandable due to the craziness of Club Rush and how much time they may have to put into it. “I feel that club rush is an exciting way for students to find out more about the club’s Heritage has to offer. Although hectic, it’s great that we can sign up for more info from the clubs too,” said Kayla Sutton (12), applying for the DIY & Photography Club. Although it is a good thing there are so many clubs availabe, some students were overwhelmed by the event. “Some clubs are so crowded that you can’t even tell what they are, plus 30 minutes is not enough time to look at all the clubs Heritage has to offer

Jack Kugl/Legacy Photographer

and you might miss out,” said Dinah Marr (10). Starting a new club isn’t as easy as a little debate about which of your friends is going to be the president. Fundraising, officials, advisors, organization, and so much more comes into play. It can be difficult to raise money for a new organization, so lots of planning is needed. “With fundraising and budgets, I believe that the club will become too complicated and out of hand. But for those clubs that do need the fundraising money for activities, it is something that needs time to plan out,” said Mr. Marquardt, advisor for the Science Alliance. After all the chaos finally settled down, students were able to enjoy the satisfaction of being a part of a new or returning club and get to start the new school year.

As another school year starts off strong, administration continues to develop and pursue goals made in the best interest of the entirety of Heritage High School. There are a plethora of objectives that administration seek to accomplish this year; however, the main priorities that admin hope to improve are academic and behavioral success, campus beautification, and overall staff and student wellness. “Two of our main areas that we really want to focus more on this year is our special education (SPED) population and academic support,” said Assistant Principal, Mrs. Wells. Students with a 2.0 or below will be met with biweekly with administration, in order to build relationships and direct their attention towards personal academic achievement. “By meeting with students, we look to reduce the percentages of ‘Ds’ and ‘Fs,’ and increase the UC: A-G requirement completion for students,” added Wells. While improving the academic success rate, Heritage also aims to achieve schoolwide cleanliness. A newly coined phrase that is sweeping the campus is, “We don’t do that here.” The phrase flour-

ished at this year’s Freshmen Fit Camp, led by the Heritage Link Crew Class. The mantra focuses on avoiding littering and emphasizes the importance of keeping our campus, and our environment, clean. “Campus beautification is a big priority this year. We are trying to update facilities, and focus more on landscaping and making our campus look and feel good,” said Assistant Principal, Mr. Bursch. When it comes to updating the campus, Bursch also states that if a bond, “Measure U” passes in November, the school will see some big changes coming its way, including team locker rooms added near the football field, updating campus portables into two-story buildings, and a Culinary Arts program. Along with improving the environment and overall campus for the students, administration agrees on making students feel more comfortable and safe at school. “My number one goal is to help students build relationships with students and adults on campus,” said Assistant Principal, Mrs. Harper, “We want students to come to us when they are in need of advice or help.” As the school year continues, Administration hopes to encourage, inspire, and uplift students and staff, thus making Heritage an environment that is safe and comfortable for everybody.

Come Along for the Ride: Catfish and the Bottlemen By Fanci Dominguez Staff Writer

Listening to the same bands on repeat can get pretty boring especially when every other song has the same sounding guitar riff. Fresh out of the United Kingdom, indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen just released their new album, “The Ride.” The band is far from basic, leaving you to turn the volume on your phone all the way out and jam out! “I saw them in concert with a friend not too long ago, I had never heard of them prior to the concert but when I saw them, I ended up loving them!

Their music was super catch!” said Jade Clark (12). The band originally was formed in 2007 in Northern Wales. Band members include Ryan Evan “Van” McCann, Benjamin “Benji” Blakeway, Robert “Sideshow Bob” Hall, and Johnny “Bondy” Bond. Catfish and the Bottlemen have toured everywhere from Australia to the US. “I just went to go see them live at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and they were so good live. They made the atmosphere so lively and they were entertaining to watch,” said Alissa Dietman (11). Their music style fits best for those who are fans of the Arc-

tic Monkeys or The Kooks and who like to jam out to long guitar and drum solos. Catfish and the Bottlemen is your all around “perfect” indie band with a punk twist. The album, “The Ride” satisfies the craving of music junkies, as its catchy hooks and upbeat tempo plays on. As their debut album, the bands growing confidence shows through as all the songs are well polished but also snappy and upbeat. “My favorite song off the album is Twice, I like this album because it’s just laidback and you can listen to it when you are just trying to relax.,” Taylor Lofton (10) said.

Opening up the album, the

song “7” starts with an upbeat guitar and drum solo followed by vocals. A personal favorite of mine off the album is the song “glasglow”. It is the only stripped down, acoustic sounding song off the album. The song perfectly explains what it feels like to fall in love and talks about the feelings that everyone can relate to. Overall, Catfish and the Bottlemen is a good band to start listening to whether you are exploring the indie genre or simply need to listen to something new.

Recommended songs: -7 - Twice - Heathrow - Glasgow - Postpone - Oxygen - Outside - Emily -Anything


Sports Varsity Volleyball opens league play with a win against Freedom

Members of the HHS Varsity Girls Volleyball team celebrate on court during a match against Freedom High. Photo by Amanda Smith/Ledger Advisor

By Caitlyn Summers Staff Writer

A new season, a new team and a new beginning for Heritage’s 2017 Varsity volleyball team. With high hopes to win league, they’re pushing themselves to work harder than they ever have. “This season will be really exciting for me and has given me the opportunity to step up to the plate as a leader and hopefully win league this year” said Kaitlyn Peterson (12). Team Captains Kaitlyn Peterson (12), Grace Stahli (11) and Cierra Pope (11) are predicting that they’ll have a great season and that by the

time league starts, will be prepared to fulfill the past legacy’s that Heritage volleyball has been known for. Three times in the past five years, Heritage’s volleyball team has come out on top in the league and advanced to NCS. In 2014, the team even went undefeated during BVAL. All of these huge achievements have been led by the same coach since the school opened, coach Hannigan. This season they’ll clash head to head with their rivals, Liberty, who seems to be doing really well in their pre-season, winning most of their games. Recently, they’ve participat-

ed in the Deer Valley Varsity Invitational and one pre-season game against Moreau Catholic High School. The team lost in three against Moreau, who finished last year at 9-5 and is currently 2-3. The game was a good learning experience, however, and gave new players, Emily Struass, Emily Sobelik, Cameron Grant, Emily Kamney, Mckenzie Christopulos, Sos Taumoepeau and Bri Cabral time to meld as a team. “Pre-season has had its ups and downs, but we’re all really excited for league to start and to have the support of our peers cheering us on” said

many doubts about the varsity football team because of a rough 2015 season, where the team finished 4-6 overall and placed 5th in League play. Few believed they would do anything better than last year. For days leading up to it, the players and fans were anticipating this game. The players are getting rowdy and so is the crowd. The clock strikes 7 o’clock its game time. The players take the field. The whistle blows. The first plays have passed and the nerves of the players have calmed down.

They know what to do now. The plays are starting to click and are flowing like a calm river. The runs, passes, and blocks are falling into place. Defense is doing their job. They shut down Tokay’s run game. So Tokay focuses on the passing game. The secondary shuts down the passing game. “Rolling into the game we knew that if we wanted the dub we would have to play Heritage football, and not get frustrated if we ever fell slightly behind,” said Aidan Quinn (11).

Emily Sobolik (11). The pressure is on the twelve girls to perform to their best and even more pressure is on them to win league. “This season may be exciting, but with the excitement and intensity of the games, also comes stress and pressure to perform to our fullest no matter how we are feeling that day, hard work pays off” said Emily Strauss (11). Heritage’s “Seventh Man,” an informal group of students known for showing up to home and rivalry games decked out in spirit gear and dedicated to supporting HHS teams, has big plans for this volleyball season.

“[The Seventh Man] is already planning…to get even more students to participate in the volleyball games by engaging more students with things like showing up spirited, making fatheads and posters” said Zachary Hanson (12). There are only high hopes for the 2016-2017 volleyball season and all of the student body will be on the sidelines cheering and chanting them on till the end. The team won their opening game against Freedom in four sets. The next upcoming league games are September 29th against Pittsburg at 6 and October 6th against Deer Valley at Heritage.

Overcoming Nerves on the Gridiron: A Player Perspective By Jaime Luna Staff Writer

Nerves race through their bodies. The locker room is silent. Helmets are buckled. The team gets pumped. They walk onto the gridiron, looking hardened on the outside, but with butterflies flitting around on the inside. Fans cheer. As soon as the sun sets, the lights come on. Its Friday night lights… game time. August 26th heralded the start of the 2016-2017 BVAL football season. Students had

Quinn was very calm going into the game, he was confident and trusted that his team would come out victorious. “We knew that we had them beat slightly after we returned from half time,” said Zell (12), “the defense shut out their offense three times in a row. They started to get down on themselves.” Senior quarterback Nick Zell had a long off season. He spent long hours on the field and in the weight room, trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster. His hard work seems to be paying off. Dual purpose Center and

Defensive Tackle, junior Jett Stanley also had a big night with two sacks. “It was a great feeling getting two sacks in the first game. I will do what I can to get more sacks but I care more about my team, I will do whatever I need to do to help my team keep winning and if I can get more sacks while I help out my team that would be good too,” said Stanley. The team is off to a great start as they are 6-1 so far in the season, only recently losing their first game to league rival Pittsburg High.


Opinions Why I’m Crazy About Veganism Colin Kaepernick protest shows that free speech isn’t free

By Bryna Walker Staff Writer Vegans are stereotyped as undernourished, protein deficient, food shamers. They are viewed as crazy people who take their lifestyles to the extreme. When I decided to be vegan a year ago, I expected there to be the occasional reaction to something most people see as odd. What I didn’t expect was to be shamed myself. Now that I’ve been vegan for a year, I can tell you I’ve never been shamed more frequently about anything in my life. Not once this year have I ridiculed someone for what they have eaten. I’ve sat and happily ate my own meals while people eat meat, eggs, and milk in front of me. Which is fine, when I became a vegan I was fully aware that this is how it would be. But again, I let these people eat in peace. This article is a way for me to take a stand, and afterwards, I promise I’ll demote back to keeping my opinions to myself. When situations happen, though, like the one written about on sfgate.com on May 31st, 2016, wherein “Thugs wearing sausage necklaces and brandishing kebabs stormed a vegan cafe in the historic old city of Tblisi and threw grilled meat into diners’ vegetarian dinners,” while vegans are still framed as the ones who try and “change” people, I feel almost forced to take a stand. Vegans live this lifestyle to benefit the animals and the earth. Period. We care about the effect that we leave on this world and do our best to only leave positive remnants. I’ve gotten the comment that “one person being vegan won’t change anything.” All I have to say to that is, check your facts. I’ll prove this to you by stealing a couple sentences from Barbara J. King’s article, “Does Being Vegan Really Help Animals?” where King addresses that, “Eating fewer or no animals doesn’t mean that animals who would’ve been killed will now live; it means that animals who would’ve been bred into existence to suffer on factory farms will now not be brought into the world and exploited” For every person who doesn’t eat meat, it definitely does affect the meat industry. When it comes to our earth,

animals play an enormous role in global warming, pollution, and deforestation. No, I’m not saying that we need to have an animal genocide and get rid of them. I’m saying that, if there was less of a demand for animals like cows and chickens, then artificial insemination in farms would be a thing of the past. No artificial insemination means no overpopulation of unnecessary animals. This will then have a domino effect. Fewer animals means fewer farms, fewer farms means less air pollution and a decrease in the amount of deforestation that would usually occur to have a space to raise the animals. Therefore, the majority of animals on our earth would come from natural conception and birth. Nothing forced. This would result in a much smaller population of these animals leading to less destruction of our eco-system. As FAO: Livestock’s Long Shadow -- Environmental Issues and Options explains much better than I, “According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide.” This is more than the whole transportation sector. Cattle-breeding is a major contributor these greenhouse gas emissions, according to FAO. Additionally, says Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report: “Cattle is one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.” Livestock now uses 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture, but also 33 percent of the global arable land is used to produce feed for livestock, the report notes. This is space that could be used for schools, homes, parks, and other recreational areas. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, “some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.” Another belief that I would like to address is that “drinking milk and eating eggs causes no harm to these animals.” I’ll show you why this myth is a bust. Milk, which can easily be replaced in a diet in multiple different ways (including options that even take the place of cheese for you gooey cheese lovers) like with SILK almond, cashew, rice or soy milk and delicious Daiya cheese that comes in American, Pepper jack, Swiss, and Mozzarella flavor. Female cows raised for milk production are kept in stalls that usually have around 4 inches of moving space all

around. They are milked until their udders actually start to produce blood and puss and become infected which is definitely not comfortable for the cows. In the article, “Cow’s Milk: A Cruel and Unhealthy Product,” PETA uncovers that “if you drink milk, you’re subsidizing the veal industry. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are often taken away from their mothers when they are as young as 1 day old to be chained in tiny stalls for three to 18 weeks and raised for veal.” This proves that just drinking milk is a destructive and harmful decision. Now the eggs. Let’s start with the fact that, in nature, wild hens lay only between ten and fifteen eggs per year. In contrast, on average, the modified production hens are forced to lay between 250 and 300 eggs each year, a jaw-dropping difference. Let me put in perspective for you what these hens experience with a quote (yes, another quote; it’s the best way to provide facts without rewording something someone has already written perfectly free for my use; it also displays that this is not just my opinion – it’s how one proves one’s argument) “Eggs: What are you really eating?” by Ashley Capps. Capps writes “The unnaturally high rates of labor-intensive, energy-depleting egg production that modern hens are forced to sustain means that, even on small farms and backyard chicken operations, hens are virtual prisoners inside their own bodies.. More than 95% of egg-laying hens in the U.S. spend their entire lives confined in battery cages so small they cannot even spread their wings.” If you made it to this point in my article I thank you, you have just read an eighth of the things that go through my mind when I receive comments on my veganism. You have now observed and realized exactly why I feel such pain for these beautiful animals and why I choose the “extreme” diet over the norm. I don’t expect anyone reading this to suddenly change their minds and turn vegan or even vegetarian. What I really hope to spread is an understanding of vegan ways, so maybe, in the future, when a vegan crosses your path, don’t judge them. Let that person know that you see what they’re doing and why, even if you don’t agree that it’s the best option for your own life. If a couple more people understand the cause after this article, then I will laugh along with the jokes and heck, I might even make some. Understanding, support, and a spread of word is all I ask for people.

By Brendan Quinn Staff Writer

As controversy surrounds Colin Kaepernick’s protest against alleged police brutality, the people of America struggle to agree on if Kaepernick’s actions are foolish or brave. During the National Anthem, Kaepernick has recently been either sitting on the bench, kneeling alone, or as of recent--kneeling with his teammates. To be clear, there are better and more effective ways to make a statement and affect change; however, the men and women who served this country fought to uphold the very constitution that gives Kaepernick the right to sit during the National Anthem. When hearing something like this, the public automatically assumes it to be wrong. Although many people may not agree, they should still accept the fact that in this great country everyone is able to exercise their right to freedom of speech. Our government protects our right to freedom of speech, but there are absolutely no prohibitions on the discrimination and lack of respect for your opinion. Especially when you are someone of Kaepernick’s stature, when a metaphorical atom bomb like this is dropped by your hands, you cannot expect complete and total agreeance. “If any of my players sit on the bench for the National Anthem, they will sit there for the rest of the game,” said USA coach John Tortorella. This sort of reaction is the reason that there is no sense of liberation in saying what needs to be said in America. This is the same reason that many people keep “big things” a secret from the people they love. There is no “real” freedom of speech; no

one is “free” of judgement. No one is “free” from persecution. And absolutely no one is “free” to say what they actually want to say. Recently, though, there have been many NFL players who have joined Kaepernick in his statements against the racial bias that is so prevalent in our modern society, and they are granted these the right to do so as well. These players include Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, Arian Foster of the Miami dolphins, and many more. The NFL has been very hands off and supportive of these players’ stands against the racial injustice in our society, for they are standing back and respecting these players’ rights to freedom of speech. Fellow teammate Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers also recently joined Kaepernick in his stand against racial bias. “I think we can all be better; our police officers, our communities, and our society as a whole,” said Reid. Reid, Kaepernick, and many others have risked their reputations and careers in this stand, and although many people may call them “communists” and “nonAmerican”, they are working to create conversation. And despite the fact that this conversation might not be pleasant; it is a conversation that needs to take place. Our society as a whole needs to be better and more understanding of the other side instead of being so eager to prove the other wrong. As a young student who understands the basic outline of our constitutional rights, I believe that whatever these athletes want to direct their spotlight to, they have all the right to do so. However, since I am a police officer’s kid, I also understand that these types of actions are what makes people hate cops, and even if these athletes wanted to positively influence society with their words, many people misinterpret their words and take out their anger on our police force.

The Heritage Ledger, September 2016  
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