Making A Statement


One could say that in entering Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus was making a statement. On October 16, 1968, the same year that MLK was assassinated, two African American sprinters made one of the most famous and notorious statements in U.S. history: “Wearing beads and scarves to oppose lynchings and black socks with no shoes to highlight poverty, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the podium during the October 16, 1968, Olympic medal ceremony in Mexico City to receive their respective gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race. But it was a single accessory—a black glove—and an accompanying gesture—a raised fist during the American national anthem—that sparked an uproar. From that moment, the two athletes would be vilified, threatened and, in some circles, celebrated” (Nadra Kareem Nittle, “Why Black American Athletes Raised Their Fists at the 1968 Olympics,” History, May 25, 2021, Tommie Smith and John Carlos used the symbolism of a raised fist to make a statement about racial injustice; Jesus used the symbolism of a donkey to make a statement about his identity, mission, and destiny.