A Tribute To Muhammad Ali: The Athlete, Philanthropist And Legend

A Tribute To Muhammad Ali: The Athlete, Philanthropist And Legend

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
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As of June 3, the world has been without a boxing legend. Over the course of the last few days, the world has mourned the loss of Muhammad Ali; athlete, boxer, and philanthropist. As a former boxing enthusiast, it is very saddening to lose this founder of boxing, and it is as equally sad to lose someone so passionate about civil rights, who truly made a difference. Few know about his life in its entirety, most just know about the man who was a phenomenal boxer. Over the course of this article, we will pay tribute to not only the athlete, but the philanthropist, donor, and voice of a generation.

Beginning the Legend

Muhammad Ali was born in 1942, a time of political and social strife as the fight for civil rights was beginning. Ali had more than enough experience with racial prejudice and discrimination over the course of his childhood, and his introduction to boxing stemmed from him needing to defend his bike from a thief. He began learning how to box at the age of 12, and competed in his first amateur bout in 1954, winning by a split decision.

Ali only continued to conquer from there, winning the 1956 Golden Gloves tournament for novices in the light heavyweight class. He went on to win the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions three years later, then the Amateur Athletic Union’s national title as well.

At the age of 18, he competed in his first Olympics in Rome with the US boxing team. Standing at 6’3, he was quite a formidable opponent. During those Olympics, he won the gold by beating Zbigniew Pietrzkowski from Poland. After his victory, he was viewed as a hero to the American people and turned professional upon his arrival back on U.S. soil. It was around this time that his famous quote, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was coined.

Controversy

Aside from his athletic achievements, Ali has also had some time in the spotlight for some other reasons. After his Olympic win, he decided to join the black Muslim group the Nation of Islam in 1964. This is also when he decided to change his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

He also hit the media by refusing to serve in the military after he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War in 1967, on the grounds that he was a practicing Muslim minister with beliefs that prevented him from fighting.

He was then arrested for committing a felony and was stripped of his world title and boxing license. He appealed the indictment but was found guilty of violating Selective Service laws and was sentenced to five years in prison. Ali never actually served this time and remained free while missing three years of boxing. The Supreme Court eventually overturned this conviction in June 1941.

Comeback

After his boxing hiatus, Ali was looking for a strong comeback. He fought again in 1971 with a massive fight against Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century.” They went back and forth over 15 rounds before Frazier clinched the win. It marked Ali’s first professional loss after 31 wins.

Another legendary fight of Ali’s was the “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman in 1974. He eventually knocked Foreman out in the eighth round, silencing many critics. Ali then redeemed his earlier loss to Frazier in the “Thrilla in the Manila” in 1975 after 14 rounds. Ali eventually retired in 1981 after a loss to Trevor Berbick.

Post-Retirement

Following his retirement, Ali was recognized as a generous philanthropist, in part because of his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 1984. He also supported Make-A-Wish and the Special Olympics, as well as traveling to numerous countries and becoming a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush. In the same year, he opened the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Unfortunately, in his retirement, his Parkinson’s disease became coupled with the onset of spinal stenosis, yet he remained in the public eye. Ali was present for the inauguration of the first African-American president in 2009, and later received the President’s Award from the NAACP for his public service efforts.

In early 2015, Ali was hospitalized multiple times for a variety of ailments, the last time being June 2016. Ali passed away on June 3, 2016, in Phoenix, AR. Since then, the world has mourned the loss of not only a champion athlete, but a true legend in the eyes of society. He will forever be celebrated for his athletic skills, as well as his willingness to speak his mind and courage to challenge societal norms.
Cover Image Credit: Eric Trules

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

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..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

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Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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