Olympian John Carlos, Journalist Dave Zirin support Fight for Five

Cal State faculty received a little impromptu support for the Fight for Five from some big names on February 10.

CSU East Bay’s Center for Sport and Social Justice hosted “The Olympics & the Politics of Resistance: An Evening with Olympians and Civil Rights Activists John Carlos and Wyomia Tyus in conversation with award-winning journalist Dave Zirin.”

John Carlos, the bronze medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, with Tommie Smith became a part of the protest of raised gloved fists during the medal ceremony. 

A San Jose alum, Carlos was a part of the “Speed City” group of runners that led San Jose State to its first NCAA championship in 1969. Wyomia Tyus, who ran with the Tennessee State Tigerbelles, won  gold medals in 100 meters in the ’64 and ’68 Olympics, and another gold in the relay. In ’68, she dedicated her two medals to Carlos and Smith in an act of solidarity. Dave Zirin is author of eight books and sports editor for The Nation.

Zirin wore a CFA “Fight for Five” button throughout his day on campus, and Carlos appropriately wore a CFA button with the raised fist throughout the talk. Tyus affirmed her support during the talk.

Dave Zirin, reflected on a quote from John Carlos: “You have to stand up and organize where you are.”

Zirin said, “I think about Oakland and the Bay and…what does it mean to take the legacy of Wyomia Tyus and John Carlos here. That means standing for justice for Mario Woods, that means standing for justice for the homeless who are displaced in the Bay Area.”

“And,” he said, “that definitely means right here on this campus standing with your professors and their push for economic justice.”  

Jennifer Eagan, CFA President and a member Center for Sport and Social Justice’s Governing Board, was thrilled. “CSU faculty,” she said, “like the faculty who created the Center for Sport and Social Justice, are hosting amazing events for their students and their communities on every campus. They deserve to have that work honored with reasonable salaries to reward the value that only they can bring to campuses.” 

Click here to view a recording of the event