Salute – the inspiring story of three civil rights icons

Members of Embargoed! were honoured to be at the UK premiere of Salute on Wednesday night and to meet civil rights icon Dr Tommie Smith. Together with fellow 200m medallists Peter Norman & John Carlos, the 1968 200m Olympic Games gold medal winner provided one of the most iconic images of all-time with a simple act of defiance on the winners’ podium. Salute is the incredible story of these three brave men who ran a world-record breaking 200m final and then sacrificed personal glory to make a stand for equality and human rights. The film is showing in cinemas across the UK from 13 July and will be available on DVD at the end of the month.

Over 200 guests including Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission, former British Olympic javelin champion Tessa Sanderson, former footballer and BBC commentator Garth Crooks, and British peer Baroness Meral Ece-Hussein attended the gala screening at the May Fair Hotel in central London. Organised by Operation Black Vote, the evening started with the screening of the award-winning documentary before a Q&A session with Dr Tommie Smith.

Earlier in the evening, Dr Smith talked to former Embargoed! chair Fevzi Hussein about his historical protest and the need to continue the fight for human rights. The group is currently running a campaign to raise awareness of how Turkish Cypriots are barred from the Olympics because of the political situation in Cyprus.

Fevzi Hussein said, “Watching Salute and then meeting Dr Tommie Smith was a very humbling experience. Having reached the top in his sporting career, he risked absolutely everything to give a voice to millions who could not speak out against the racism and injustice they were experiencing. As the battle for human rights continues, for Turkish Cypriots and many others around the world, I urge you all to go see this film and be as inspired as we are.” He added, “Dr Smith’s actions are as relevant today as 1968. His advice of ‘setting ourselves a plan, working hard and having faith’ is important to share with young Turkish Cypriot athletes who will be looking at the 2012 London Olympic Games, wondering why, yet again, they will not be there.”

Fevzi Hussein (L) Dr Tommie Smith (R)

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