Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Colin Kaepernick (you may have heard of him) recently received the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International. The ceremony was held Saturday night in Amsterdam. During his speech, Kaepernick called it like we all see it, referring to the police killings of black and brown people as “lawful lynchings.”

Kaepernick, who has been without a quarterback job in the NFL even though Ryan Mallett cashed an NFL check in 2017, has become a symbol and spokesman for criminal-justice reform. What started out as a peaceful protest during the 2016 NFL season, with Kaepernick even going so far as to talk with veterans to find a way to respectfully do so, ended up with Kaepernick being unemployed in 2017 while he championed the cause of black and brown communities dealing with unfair and unjust treatment at the hands of the police.

According to USA Today, Kaepernick extolled the virtues of common sense by speaking about injustices of which most communities of color are fully aware:

“Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation,” Kaepernick said in his speech. “The effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex.

“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?”

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According to Amnesty International, the Ambassador of Conscience Award is awarded to “people who have used their talents to inspire others to fight for human rights. The award also aims to create debate, encourage public action and raise awareness of human rights issues.”

Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela, Alicia Keys, the movement for the rights for indigenous people in Canada, Joan Baez and U2.

Kaepernick is both deserving and in pretty good company.