Skip to main content

The Greatest Inspiration


~Abby Foster

This afternoon as I sat down for a break after returning from my real job and before beginning my dream job as a writer, I stumbled across the televised broadcast of Muhammad Ali’s memorial service. Soon, my plan to relax for a few minutes before turning my attention to my latest writing project was derailed.

I couldn’t turn away. I was mesmerized by one inspiring speaker after another. Speakers like young Natasha Mundkur who passionately spoke about how Ali changed her life. Remember that name.  

I, of course, knew about Muhammed Ali. I knew he was a boxer. I knew he was born Cassius Clay. I knew he had a penchant for speaking in rhyme. I knew he was kind and I knew he had a good sense of humor. If only I had known how so much more he was.

If you missed the service, search your social media sites. If you value social justice, you will not be disappointed. In fact, if you are human, you will not be disappointed.

Tributes and memories of this former athlete revealed a life not only well lived but almost carefully crafted to culminate at this moment at this time. His insistence on a Muslim funeral at a time when many Americans fear Muslims was masterful. In this final act, he demonstrated peace, love, and unity at its best. Speakers and religious leaders representing a variety of ethnicities and religions were united in their respect and admiration for this peaceful man. Each speaker shared their first-hand accounts of the generosity of this man known as The Greatest.

His elegant, articulate widow, Lonnie, shared the story of this African-American future boxer, born in segregated Louisville Kentucky who encountered a white police officer at a young age. This encounter was not the hostile, violent encounter we hear about all too often in recent times. Young Casius Clay’s encounter with the white police officer ended in a spectacularly different way. This white officer listened to the angry twelve-year-old who wanted to beat up the thief who stole his bike. The officer listened to the youth and then introduced him to the sport of boxing. Lonnie Ali said, “When a cop and an inner city kid talk, miracles can happen.”

This celebration of a unique and inspiring life provided so many lessons for those who were lucky enough to catch it; lessons in loving each other, being kind to each other, and believing in ourselves. Casius Clay, who chose his name, Muhammed Ali after his conversion to Islam, lived his life on his own terms. As an athlete, he inspired kids of all ages, other boxers, aspiring journalists, and at least one future president. As a man he challenged mainstream Americans by expanding our views on religion, war, and poverty here and abroad. In life and in death Ali had much to say and he said it well. Rest in peace.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Time to Act

March is women's history month. A time to look back at the history of women in our society. A time to reflect on the contributions women have made to society. For many, this means looking back at historical figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Shirley Chisholm, Sally Ride and others who have changed our expectations of women. This year, I am reflective of the more recent past. In the United States, it seems, that January 20, 2017, marked the beginning of the era of The Woman.

For the past year and two months, women have insisted on being heard. With marches and social media movements, we have said to the world, we refuse to be silenced any longer. Years of being passed over, dismissed, harassed, assaulted and humiliated culminated when the first women elected by a major political party as the candidate for President of the United States was defeated. The women's march in response to the 2016 presidential election morphed into the #metoo movement.
While, a reaction to …

I Stand With Meryl

In the court of public opinion, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I am reminded of this adage as the annual Hollywood award season is now underway. Critics harp that these awards are nothing more than self-aggrandizing by an already spoiled Hollywood community. Yet, this year, when multi-award winning actress Meryl Streep gave a thank you speech for her Cecil B DeMille award at the Golden Globes, she put the spotlight on someone other than herself, yet still received criticism. Well, I applaud her. As befitting someone in a free society, she used the podium she was given to say what was on her mind. While I am not a decorated artist of any sort, I feel compelled to do the same. I have the capacity, the platform and the freedom to speak my mind. So I will use those privileges.

I agree with Ms. Streep's comments, I believe "violence does incite violence" and we should all work to stem violence to create the world that many of us would like to live in. I…

Movie Review: The Post

The Post seems like a straightforward movie. It recounts a time in US history when a whistleblower bordered on treason to expose government secrets about an unpopular war. I saw right through the facade. What I saw was a movie about historical events, that had significant relevance for the present time.

When Liz Hannah and Josh Singer wrote the screenplay focusing on the role of Washington Post Matriarch Katherine Graham, I don't know if they had in mind the recent power surge by women. But the story of Katherine Graham and the role of the press, and the cover-up by the government all captured the current zeitgeist.

On the surface, The Post is about freedom of the press. Beneath the surface, The Post reminds us that our government can be mired in subterfuge, that people in power can have questionable motives based on greed and ego, and most poignantly it shows how a woman found her voice. 

Succinctly and eloquently put by a woman who herself was behind the scenes tending to the co…