A Missouri lawmaker raised his fist rather than covering his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance in the Missouri House.
Rep. Bruce Franks Jr, a St. Louis Democrat, explained why in a Facebook post.
“I won’t pledge allegiance to a flag, but I will pledge my allegiance to the people,” the Jan. 3 post reads. “All power to the people.”
Known as a leader of the Ferguson-Black Lives Matter protests, Franks Jr was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives last year. As a protestor, he once told the St. Louis Dispatch he can’t dress down without being racially profiled. He lamented not being take seriously as a college educated black man and owner of two businesses. Even when he wears a suit, some of his 33 tattoos show, including tear-stain tattoos on his face.
Franks Jr told the Associated Press that people who look like him are often disproportionately affected by things. In order to avoid controversy, he told the AP he typically leaves the House floor during the Pledge. Yesterday, he was to introduce guests immediately following the Pledge, so he stayed and raised his fist instead.