|The most famous protest in the history of the Olympic Games.|
Memorable Gesture of Protest
With no intentions of making light of the subject matter for which Tommie Smith, John Carlos, along with the late Peter Norman took the podium in protest at the 1968 Olympics. The share is meant to uplift those courageous men for what they stood for during a time when the World had no choice but to be a witness.
I was only a year old at the time this all happened, so I was definitely clueless... but through the years of early childhood to adulthood the above picture had become a symbolic gesture of 'making a stand against the powers that be'. Maybe, I'm taking it out of context to what it had meant to stand for, but for me as a black man.. it was an empowering gesture that visibly let it be known... I'm standing my ground on what I believe to be right! And if there be consequences for my act of standing my ground, then so be it because my voice will not go unheard.
---- My Memorable Gesture ----
Can a selfish act turn into a righteous cause, meaning it opened the door for others?
I say yes, as I flashback to one of the several USA Track and Field Championships I've competed in TRACK TOWN USA - Eugene, Oregon. I don't remember the year but I do remember this one particular day when I made my way out to the track to get a warm up/ shake out in before the competition officially got started and the track was closed. There's was a practice schedule to use the main track so I was already prepared to simply get onto the warm up track to do my business. Once I got to the track facility, main gate was locked, so I looked for access to the warm up track. I found it! A back entrance was open so I made use of that entry way with the quickness.
Once in, I immediately started my warm up and got my strides done... and well into my stretching when I was approached by a gentleman who told me that the track was closed. I politely responded, I know and that is why I'm using the warm up track. He replies that the track being closed included the warm up facility as well. I responded politely again, well I'm not in anyone's way and all I want to do is get a shake out from my travels from the east coast. I've done my strides, I'm stretching and once I drill I'll be out of here. His response, if you don't leave I'll be forced to call security. I'm bothered by this, but stayed calm as I continued to stretch and replied, "Do what you have to do, I'm not going anywhere until I've finished my warm up/ stretching and drills." The gentleman pulls out his radio and call for security. In the meantime I continue with my planned warm up staying calm in my demeanor but worried like crazy on the inside thinking.. What I've gotten myself into!?! But I'm not going nowhere, I've made a stand and will see it through.
Couple guys show up (security) and by this time a few other athletes started showing up... they were on the outside of the fenced in warm area looking in wondering how did I managed to get in. The first gentleman who approached me, after calling for security followed that radio call for backup with a mobile phone call to Tom Jordan, the Pre Classic meet director/ US Trials/Champs when in Eugene. Well, Mr. Jordan asked for the name of the athlete who was trespassing and once he got the name he then asked to speak to me. We had a conversation that started off with Mr. Jordan confirming that I had to leave but I pleaded my case and Mr. Jordan gave the okay for me to stay and to let the other athletes standing at the fence (watching all this go down) come in to use the warm up track only as well.
Once I got off the phone, I was relieved and turned to one face in particular that was standing behind the fence.. Melissa Morrison and gave her the '68 podium salute... I made a stand for a selfish reason that ended up opening the doors for others.
A darn good feeling! But at the time... I wasn't sure what was going to happen with my persistent stance... Call Security!. I'm not going nowhere until I'm done! all the while shaking in my boots on the inside. ~Laughing at myself~
I've made some not so selfish stance that I could ramble on about, but this share is the one where I saw an immediate result.
Have you ever made a stance? Are you willing to stand your ground?
Thank you Tommie Smith and John Carlos for the sacrifice of self for the betterment of 'We' as a people. Your gesture reign supreme on my world of thought as I find it empowering to see those in our past make a stand 'in spite of' what the act will do/ had done in your lives personally.
|“It stands for diversity. It stands for vision and strength. It stands for belief in the right things. That's what I think it stands for.” ~ John Carlos|