America lost a great champion on June 3, 2016. Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. He was the greatest champion in the history of boxing. Ali demonstrated and showcased his skills in the ring. However, Muhammad Ali can be remembered for his advocacy of human rights in our country and throughout the world. He was a true reigning world champion.
As advocates of Early Childhood, we should embrace the legacy of Muhammad Ali to better practice and appreciate Diversity in Action throughout the ranks. He did not do all he did because it was popular, Muhammad Ali did what he did because of what he felt was right. His activism was one of courage and strength. Muhammad Ali laid ground work that is beneficial on what is going on in our society today. Ali quoted, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” It is important that we as caretakers of young learners continue to evolve on what it good for mankind.
There are many lessons in the life of Muhammad Ali that could be learned for those staunch advocates for Diversity in Action. We must be willing to struggle in order to make progress. Ali once said, “It’s a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” Self-determination is key to breaking down the barriers necessary for full inclusion in Early Childhood.
Ali was not initially liked earlier in his career for the courageous stances he took of the Viet Nam war, racism, discrimination, and freedom of religion. Muhammad Ali was admonished for his religious beliefs and refusing to go to war. He was a warrior of courage and stood on principles. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title and imprisoned for what he believed in; which was not to fight in a war when the alleged enemy did nothing to harm his integrity. We must always remember that Muhammad Ali was a champion outside of the boxing ring.
CAEYC is still in the struggle; fighting for the best interest of young children. Furthermore, we are in the struggle to make our state of California better than when we inherited it. We would like to know how the life and struggles of Muhammad Ali correlate with your early childhood experiences on a personal and/or professional level.
Please share your thoughts and sentiments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Responses will be shared in next edition of eConnections. Muhammad Ali once stated that, “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do-they all contain truths.” Water is symbolic of life. No body survives without water. May libations be poured for children of the past, present and the future.
Chair, CAEYC Diversity in Action Committee