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In October of last year, John Carlos headed to Zucotti Park in New York. He wanted to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He'd been fighting the fight for social justice for more than 40 years. John showed up with a friend, the friend spoke to an organizer, the organizer heard John's name and said... "who?"
Who. The friend described John - gifted athlete, teacher, mentor, political activist - and at the same time struck a pose: standing straight, feet slightly apart, head bowed, clenched fist straight up in the air. Oh. That John Carlos.
It's an iconic image from 1968. John had just won the bronze medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. He stood at the podium with his gold medal-winning teammate Tommie Smith. They raised their fists in the Black Power salute. It was a protest against the daily humiliations of African Americans in the United States.
John paid heavily for his political statement. The sporting establishment in America largely ignored him. He didn't get the big endorsements and the rich contracts. He, along with Tommie Smith and their families, faced abuse and death threats. It's only been fairly recently America has rediscovered John Carlos. His protest more than four decades ago resonates today.
At Occupy Wall Street he stood at the microphone and spoke to thousands of people who - unlike in 1968 - were eager to hear his protest: "Today I am here for you. Why? Because I am you. We're here forty-three years later because there's a fight still to be won. This day is not for us but for our children to come."