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Missouri state senator from St. Louis plans to sit in protest during pledge in Jefferson City

Missouri state senator from St. Louis plans to sit in protest during pledge in Jefferson City

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed

Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, speaks at a press conference at the Capitol after the conclusion of the Senate on Friday, May 15, 2015. Photo by Cristina Fletes-Boutte,

JEFFERSON CITY • A state senator from Missouri says she will stay seated Wednesday when her colleagues rise to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, an African-American lawmaker from St. Louis, said she is staging the protest in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has begun kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial oppression in the United States.

“I love America, but I want to support a brother who is shining a light on injustice,” the Democrat told the Post-Dispatch Tuesday.

The move comes as members of the Legislature return to the capital city for the start of the veto session at noon. By tradition, they open each day's session with the pledge and a prayer.

Nasheed acknowledged that the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem are not the same.

But, she said, “It represents the same when it comes to black people in America.”

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

On Monday, when the 49ers played the Los Angeles Rams, Kaepernick was joined by teammate Eric Reid in kneeling during the anthem. Rams defensive lineman Robert Quinn and receiver Kenny Britt held fists up during the anthem.

Several other players around the league took part in similar protests on opening weekend.

Nasheed is no stranger to protesting as a way to raise awareness of social issues.

In 2014, amid the protests in Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown, she was arrested outside the Ferguson police station and spent the night in the St. Ann jail.

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