Civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick is joining social publishing network Medium as its only Black member of the board of directors, with an agreement to write about racial justice and create new opportunities for Black writers.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been a free agent for the past three years after being blackballed by the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest against police brutality.
Kaepernick started his own publishing company, Kaepernick Publishing, in 2019 with the goal “to give power to Black and Brown voices globally.” His memoir will be one of its first projects, NBC News reported. He also launched the nonprofit Know Your Rights Camp to mobilize Black youth, and a legal defense fund for people arrested while protesting George Floyd’s death.
In partnership with Medium, Kaepernick will be developing projects focused on race and civil rights in the U.S. under the Kaepernick Publishing imprint.
“I learned early on that in fighting against systematic oppression, dehumanization and colonization, who controls the narrative shapes the reality of how the world views society,” Kaepernick told USA Today Sports in an exclusive interview when he launched Kaepernick Publishing. “It controls who’s loved, who’s hated, who’s degraded and who’s celebrated.”
Medium has four board members and advisors including CEO Evan Williams; Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz; venture capitalist Josh Elman of Greylock Partners; and Judith Estrin, CEO of JLABS and former senior vice president of Cisco, according to Crunchbase.
Medium claims to have 170 million monthly readers across its curated blogs and editorially driven publications that include ZORA and Level, aimed at African Americans and people of color, and GEN, focused on “politics, power, and culture.” Momentum is the latest addition.
To date, Medium has raised more than $130 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Spark Capital, GV, The Chernin Group, Lowercase Capital and Obvious Ventures, Tech Crunch reported.
In a blog post on Thursday, Medium CEO Williams announced that the partnership with Kaepernick is part of an effort “to elevate emerging voices from communities of color.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 72: Jamarlin Martin Part 2. J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, may not be around but his energy is present in new Black politics.FBI agents and informants were used to weaken Marcus Garvey, the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers — in many cases for money and career advancement. How could this energy metastasize into the “New Blacks” politics in 2020? Jamarlin goes solo to discuss who is doing the trading and what is being traded to weaken the aggregate Black political position.
“I met Colin a couple years ago and have been wanting to work with him ever since,” Williams wrote. “When he launched Kaepernick Publishing in February, we started a conversation and quickly realized how closely our ideals and sensibilities align.”
As protests continued over Floyd’s death in police custody, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” who were protesting against police brutality.
Williams described Kaepernick as an incisive, independent thinker, whose integrity has inspired many.
“I know he will bring valuable insights and leadership to Medium, especially in this moment when the world is finally catching up to his vision on racial justice,” Williams wrote.