Eighty students at Lincoln High School are planning to take a knee during the national anthem tonight, as their football team plays against Wilson High School.
Seniors Sophia Wilson and Mickala Forves are the co-presidents of Lincoln's Sisters of Color, a group they started last year to create a space for women of color at the school. Lincoln also has a Brothers of Color group.
The group has organized movie nights, a giving tree and college visits. But tonight, they're making a political statement, showing alliance with Colin Kaepernick and the hundreds of other NFL players and cheerleaders, who have taken a knee in protest of police brutality.
Eighty students, both people of color and white students who agree with them will dress in black and line up against the track fence. When the national anthem starts, they will all take a knee.
"All of the girls are so excited, but at the same time we're so nervous because it's on such a big scale, because all eyes are going to be on us. It's nerve-wracking," says Wilson. "We're so nervous because it's something that means so much to us and we're opening ourselves to our whole community. It's not about us though, it's mainly about the injustices people of color face every day."
The women say they got the idea after President Trump's comments about football players last month. They asked all Lincoln students and parents to kneel with Sisters of Color.
Wilson is on the cheerleading team, and has kneeled every game for the past two football seasons.
"When I saw the football boys kneeling, it inspired me to kneel. I felt we were in a safe community to do it," Wilson says. "Each game I have a couple people who support me. Two other cheerleaders have been pretty consistent. The football team have been unreal. They protect me, they defend me if anyone were to say anything, so I feel so safe kneeling next to my team, I feel so safe knowing they're not judging me."
The Lincoln High School football team were the first football players in the entire Portland Interscholastic League to kneel, Wilson says.
"A group of our football players last season decided that they wanted to take a knee to support what they felt was the injustice by police officers against black and brown males of color, so they were very thoughtful in doing it," says Lincoln High School counselor and Sisters of Color advisor James McGee. "The administrators actually supported them. The football coach supported them as well."
Wilson says she believes it's important to her to use her privilege to take a knee. Lincoln, located at the base of the West Hills, is the city's wealthiest public high school.
"Part of the reason the team started kneeling was because the oppression people of color face on a daily basis. I'm very privileged to go to this school and live in this community, and when I hear stories and talk to people about things they face and where they live and come from, I want to be able to use that privilege as a platform to help them, to be their voice when they can't speak," Wilson says. "I feel like it's so crucial at this point in our lives to do something on this big of a scale. It shows people that we're in this cause and we all have to tackle this."