— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2016
Long before Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, sparking a national dialogue, there was Leilani Thomas.
Leilani, now 14, has sat out the Pledge of Allegiance since the second grade.
“Most of my teachers, they respected my decision and my right and belief. So they never said anything about it,” she told CNN during a phone interview Friday. “I think the pledge is a lie to me and it’s a lie to my people.”
Leilani and her family are part of the Elem Indian Colony — a Native American tribe in Northern California, where she attends Lower Lake High School as a freshman.