Michigan Teen’s Essay Explaining Decision to Sit During Anthem Inspires City to Reckon with Its Racist Past

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Alex Hosey, 15, sits during the National Anthem before his basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 at East Lansing High School in East Lansing. Hosey sits during the National Anthem to protest the discrimination that black families faced when they tried to purchase homes in the city. Picture credit: TheUndefeated.com

East Lansing, Michigan like most cities in the United Staes, has a dark and troubled history as it relates to racism. An East Lansing High school student has forced his city to reckon with that past. Alex Hosey recently wrote an essay explaining why he’s refused to stand for the national anthem and he’s inspired something special.

The 15-year-old basketball player wrote in his essay entitled “Why I sit,” “As an African-American male I believe that if I did stand at this time I would be disrespecting myself and my people.” He continued, “The reason for this is because of our nation’s long history of discrimination toward people of color that continues to this day.”

After reading Hosey’s essay and considering past racial injustices, the city issued a formal apology to all people affected by the discrimination. One of those injustices included keeping prospective Black homebuyers from purchasing homes in the area until a new law was passed in 1968.

The apology read, “The City Council and City of East Lansing profoundly acknowledges, apologizes for, and condemns all racially motivated, discriminatory or exclusionary aspects of the city’s history and deeply regrets any pain or suffering such policies may have caused to any person.”

City officials hope to keep the momentum going and plan to meet with Hosey and other concerned parties to have an annual discussion about the issues in their city. Council member Aaron Stephens said, “it’s a constant and ever-moving force you have to keep fighting for.”

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