The newly elected director of the Denver public schools board of education, Tay Anderson, said on the eve of his first monthly meeting Thursday, Jan.2, that he will sit for the Pledge of Allegiance due to blacks ‘murdered’ by police.

“As a black man, I am reminded today and every day of the injustices that still exist in our society,” Anderson said in a statement. “I am remaining seated as a representative for those who were not afforded the right to be here today.”

“For those who are lost on why I sit during the pledge of allegiance … here are 69 reasons why,” Anderson posted on Facebook on his school board page with an article from 

The list includes people who died of medical episodes or were killed by police while actively trying to murder police officers.

“I have decided not to stand because we need our leaders to have the courage to fight alongside communities in sending a clear message that we will not stand while white supremacy is thriving,” Anderson said, according to

In a letter written on Denver Public School Board of Education stationary, Anderson listed the names of 13 people who died in police shootings or in police custody, whom he said, “could’ve been me,” yet half of them were not killed by police.

“Today, and everyday, I am reminded that Sandra Bland, could’ve been me. Botham Shem Jean, could’ve been me. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Marvin Booker, Paul Childs, and Elijah McClain all could’ve been me.”

Since the announcement, he said he’s received both praise and criticism for the move. He received a phone call Friday morning, Jan. 3, from a voter that said they regretted voting for him. 

“A lot of these people that are expressing disappointment are white individuals who do not understand what it means to live the life of a person of color,” Anderson said. “I understand and respect their opinions but I also wish that they would understand and respect mine.” 

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