CUH volleyball player kneels to ‘stand up for change’

Marcy Butler, a graduate transfer from Howard University, kneels during each national anthem played before her Chaminade University volleyball games to protest how African Americans have and are being treated. Butler has inspired her new teammates and coaches during the national anthem to show that they support each other, and work in unison.

Through Butler’s experience at Howard University, she was able to gain her insight into her ancestor’s past and where she came from as an African American woman and view her goals “a little bit differently.” During her time at Howard University, she and the volleyball team decided it was “mandatory to kneel” after learning the reality of the politics and systemic injustices that African Americans were and are still currently subject to.

“I kneel because I believe that the [national] anthem was based on a time where my ancestors were not treated properly and moving forward, I still don’t think that black people are being treated fairly,” said Butler, who is an outside hitter for Chaminade women’s volleyball team. “It’s gotten a lot better, but I don’t think it’s where it needs to be, so till that, I am going to continue to kneel and support and stand by my ancestors and my people.”

One of the people that Marcy talked to prior to starting to kneel at Chaminade, was her head coach Kahala Kabalis Hoke. Seeing Marcy kneeling for change inspired Hoke to have Butler’s teammates show their support for one another by lending a hand to the person in front of them.

“[Marcy] just asked me if she could [kneel], and I said sure, we are going to support you and your beliefs,” said Hoke. “After I saw her kneeling before the first few games, I realized that there was something missing. We weren’t a unit. Granted everyone is not going to have the same beliefs to kneel with her, but we decided to …  touch each other on the shoulder to show her and everyone else that we are in unison. We are united in supporting her beliefs and having our own.”

Throughout the 2021 season, the Georgia native has still continued to show her belief in kneeling during the national anthem before both home and away games for the Swords. She hasn’t felt isolated, nor has she received any negativity from her teammates, opposing teams or her coach, but was slightly apprehensive to start her tradition in a new place after transferring.

“I was a little nervous [to kneel at Chaminade], especially being a minority again,” said Butler, who has the second most team in kills with 278 this season. “I thought that I might get negative feedback from it, but everyone has been super supportive. I have actually gotten a lot more questions about it, which I really appreciate.”

Butler believes that kneeling during the national anthem “encourages people to stand their ground and stand up for change.” She is just getting started on creating and inspiring change and is determined to “make her mark no matter big or small” at Chaminade.

After a sweep over Azusa Pacific Wednesday night and also winning Monday’s match 3-1 over the Cougars, Chaminade is now tied for first in the PacWest Conference with a 15-3 record (25-5 overall). While Butler was out on a tweaked knee, Brooklyn Pe’a finished Wednesday’s match with a team-high 12 kills, and also recorded her 10 double-double of the season.

Their last home game, and Senior Night, will be this Friday at 7 p.m. against Point Loma in McCabe Gym. Fans who wish the attend the match must be fully vaccinated.