Woman Takes a Knee During National Anthem Performance Prior to Heat-76ers Game

While singing the national anthem prior to Friday's Heat-76ers game, a woman named Denasia Lawrence took a knee.

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For the second time this month, a woman took a knee during her national anthem performance prior to an NBA game. Earlier this month, singer Leah Tysse knelt while singing, "Land of the free, and the home of the brave," before a Sacramento Kings preseason game.

“I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed, and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability," Tysse wrote in a statement on her Facebook page. “The sad reality is, as a white American, I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families. Let’s be honest. Until we can recognize that white privilege exists we cannot have a dialogue about race.”

Prior to Friday's preseason contest between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers, Denasia Lawrence, a part-time employee in the Heat's game-night operations staff, took a knee during her national anthem performance while wearing a "Black Lives Matter" shirt. 

"When I took the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Heat game, it was bigger than me. Right now, we’re seeing a war on Black & Brown bodies—we’re being unjustly killed and overly criminalized," Lawrence wrote on her Facebook page. "I took the opportunity to sing AND kneel; to show that we belong in this country AND that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us. I took the opportunity to sing AND kneel to show that, I too, am America." 

"As a social worker, I’ve worked with youth, families and veterans, and every day they all teach me the value of fighting against injustice—that all are treated equally no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical abilities," Denasia added. "I didn’t get paid to sing the national anthem; nor was this moment about any sort of fame. Black Lives Matter is far larger than a hashtag, it’s a rallying cry. And until our cry is rightfully heard, protests will still happen and demands will still be made!" 

The Heat said they were unaware of Lawrence's intent to kneel during the national anthem. 

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