Mario Woods would be "honored" to know his 2015 shooting death inspired Colin Kaepernick to begin his social justice campaign ... so says Mario's mom who's praising CK as a hero.
We spoke with Gwendolyn Woods who tells us she was "overwhelmed" when she read the PAPER Magazine article in which Colin says Mario's "execution" at the hands of San Francisco police officers essentially led to his kneeling protest during the National Anthem.
Woods tells TMZ Sports ... she believes Colin has been doing great work putting a spotlight on police violence and applauds him for "putting his money where his mouth is."
As we previously reported, Mario was shot 21 times by SFPD officers who were responding to reports of a stabbing in the area. Mario was holding a knife and cops claimed he was a threat so they opened fire. But, cell phone video NEVER showed Woods getting aggressive with police. Gwendolyn sued the City of SF and got a $400,000 settlement in 2018.
Now, with Colin mentioning Mario's name again -- his story is back in the headlines and Gwendolyn says she's extremely grateful to Kaepernick.
"He should know that he's impacted a family and a community that never had a platform, never had a voice," Woods says ... "I am very proud of him."
Gwendolyn says Mario was a huge 49ers fan -- so aside from the social justice work, she thinks Mario would have gotten a huge kick out of knowing the starting QB of his favorite team was inspired by him.
"To feel that someone of Colin Kaepernick's stature spoke his name ... spoke truth to his light, yeah, I like to think my child can rest a little easier."