“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.” ~Muhammad Ali
I have never been a fan of boxing, but I have always admired Muhammad Ali for his bravery outside of the ring. To me, he is a true American hero. Ali was bold and unapologetic for his greatness. He took risks, and dared to fail time and again, because he knew what he was fighting for was right. Whether he was fighting against injustice, or working to raise awareness about the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, Ali was willing to sacrifice whatever it took for people to see and understand the truth. There will never be another athlete like him, there will never be another human being like him. It saddens me to see a generation, who fought tirelessly for freedom, starting to fade away.
Rest in Power, Muhammad Ali. May we serve your memory well.