The California chapter of the NAACP is trying to persuade state lawmakers to support its campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the U.S. national anthem.
The group claims that the song is “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” and began circulating a resolution to ban the song among state legislative offices after the group’s officials voted to move forward with the campaign at the state conference in October, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The organization added that it is also circulating a second resolution to state lawmakers in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to ensure he can play on a team.
“We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman said. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.”
The former 49ers quarterback became famous after he took a knee during the national anthem played at the beginning of football games to protest police brutality.
Huffman said she drafted the resolutions after President Trump slammed the NFL national anthem protesters and said that NFL team owners should fire players or coaches who decide to protest the patriotic song.
“Trump got in the middle of it. He blew it out of proportion,” Huffman said of the president’s comments.
The California NAACP has not yet had any legislative sponsors for its resolutions, but one legislator is already speaking out against the proposal to ban the anthem.
“Our flag and national anthem unite us as Americans,” Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who is running for governor of California, said in a statement. “Protesting our flag and national anthem sows division and disrespects the diverse Americans who have proudly fought and died for our country. Real social change can only happen if we work together as Americans first.”
“The Star-Spangled Banner” has been the U.S. national anthem since 1931 after former President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional resolution making it the official song of the country.