Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, took part Thursday in the annual Unthanksgiving Day on Alcatraz.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Kaepernick made the surprise appearance at the event that commemorates the nine-month occupation of the prison by Native American activists from 1969-1971.
“Our fight is the same fight,” Kaepernick told the crowd, in a message he posted on Twitter. “We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. And realizing that we are all in this fight together makes us all the more powerful.”
The 89 activists who occupied the prison demanded that it be turned into an American Indian cultural center and school, the report said. The event is called the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering.
Newsweek reported that the event includes traditional dancers and the crowd gathers together to watch the sunrise on San Francisco Bay.
“It’s about reflecting, remembering and celebrating that we are still here and our culture still survives,” Michael Horse, a Native American actor, told Newsweek.
Kaepernick, who was recently named GQ’s ‘Citizen of the Year,’ began kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of NFL protests by players during the anthem that repeatedly have been denounced by President Trump. Kaepernick parted ways with the 49ers in March and hasn’t been signed by another team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report