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Durham Cub Scout takes a knee during Pledge of Allegiance at City Council meeting

Scout kneels during Pledge of Allegiance at Durham City Council meeting

Liam Holmes (at left in blue coat), 10, dropped to a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Durham City Council meeting Monday night, Feb. 4, 2019. (Faces of other Scouts not kneeling have been obscurred)
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Liam Holmes (at left in blue coat), 10, dropped to a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Durham City Council meeting Monday night, Feb. 4, 2019. (Faces of other Scouts not kneeling have been obscurred)

A protest popularized by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made its way to Durham Monday night.

A 10-year-old Cub Scout dropped to a knee as his Pack 451 led the Pledge of Allegiance opening the City Council meeting.

Video of the meeting on the city’s website shows Liam Holmes kneel, with his hand over his heart, when the pack started the pledge.

“What I did was took a knee against racial discrimination, which is basically when people are mean to other people of different colors,” Liam Holmes said in a story first reported by WNCN.

His father, Scott Holmes, a Durham attorney, told WNCN that he had discussed it with his son before the meeting but didn’t know if he would perform the protest.

On the city website’s video, Mayor Steve Schewel is heard praising Liam’s protest.

“To the scout that expressed his conscience by kneeling, we will say we endorse and appreciate all expressions of conscience in Durham City Council,” Schewel said.

A Pack 451 leader declined to comment in an email exchange.

“The Pack doesn’t have any comment. This is a matter for the young man and his father,” the message said.

Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement.

“Our youth members learn the importance of duty to country and honoring the people who serve our nation as part of the values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law,” the statement said. “The American Flag is one of the most important and prominent symbols in the Boy Scouts of America, and reverence for the flag flows through all aspects of Scouting. We value the freedom of everyone to express their opinion and believe to disagree does not mean to disrespect. Scouting is a movement of millions of people, with many different views on a number of topics and we must stay focused on that which unites us – working together to accomplish great things for youth.”

Scott Holmes said Wednesday the media attention has become a little bit overwhelming.

“We’ve talked about it and what this attention means,” he said, but declined to comment further.

Holmes supervises the Civil Litigation Clinic at N.C. Central University and has represented many of the defendants in the Confederate monument protests in Durham and Chapel Hill.

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Joe Johnson is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer. He most recently covered towns in western Wake County and Chatham County. Before that, he covered high school sports for The Herald-Sun.
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