BROOKLYN - City Councilman Jumaane Williams joined a growing number of public figures protesting racial inequality by boycotting American rituals.

It began with the NFL's Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem.

Then Williams, a Democrat, declined to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

He says that for most of his life, he's stood for the pledge out of respect but protested by not reciting the words. But now, he says he's with Kaepernick, making his concerns public in a bid to speak for people who may feel that they don't have a voice.

He pointed to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of an NYPD officer as an example of racial injustice. City Council members are currently grappling with whether or not to release more information about that investigation.

"It was just time to make this a public issue," Williams says, adding that nonviolent protest is an important tradition in the United States.