Raven Saunders, who fearlessly uses her platform to destigmatize mental health, was defiant with her powerful protest on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics.
During the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, the world fell in love with Raven Saunders, the shot put-throwing machine from Charleston, S.C. After the 25-year-old left it all on the field to win a silver medal, she made a simple but powerful gesture with her arms crossed to form an "X" over her head even though the International Olympic Committee's relaxed guidelines still banned protests on the medals stand. Saunders told the Associated Press that the sign is "the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet." Saunders, with her celebratory twerking, green and purple hair, and comic book-inspired masks, was not going to be silenced. As an openly gay Black woman with a past of depression and suicide, she dedicated the medal to the intersection of everyone struggling in the world. "Shout out to all my Black people, shout out to all my LBGTQ community, shout out to everybody dealing with mental health," Saunders told the AP. "Because at the end of the day, we understand that it's bigger than us, and it's bigger than the powers that be."