Colin Kaepernick (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal by Harvard University on Thursday in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was among eight people being saluted by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research for their contributions to black history and culture.

The medal is considered to be Harvard’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. It is awarded “to individuals in the United States and across the globe in recognition of their contributions to African and African American culture and the life of the mind.”

‘I feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them,” Kaepernick said, “because if we don’t, we become complicit in the problem.

Kaepernick recently became the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign which features the slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The other honorees are comedian Dave Chappelle; Kenneth Chenault, chairman and a managing director of General Catalyst; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Pamela Joyner, founder of Avid Partners, LLC; psychologist and author Florence Ladd; Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and artist Kehinde Wiley, best known for his 2018 portrait of President Barack Obama.