Muhammad Ali will always be remembered for his boxing success, but I will always remember and respect the kind of man that he was: what a great example he set for my community. He was not perfect, but he was socially conscious and aware that his life was not his own. He belonged to the people and identified with the African American struggle for equality and respect. He demonstrated what that looks like inside and outside of the ring. He was a dominate force in the ring as well as a controversial personality outside of the ring. He was not afraid to stand up for justice and to follow his convictions. He was a man of convictions.
I met Ali at CAAM at our Gala dinner two or three years ago. It was a highlight of my life to meet such a great man. His success, confidence, leadership, convictions, integrity, and community involvement set a new standard -not just for boxers- but for all men who dare to be different and to engage in this life and community. We should float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in life.
May God bless Muhammad Ali for the great example he set for the world, and may he bless his family as they endure their devastating loss. Let us keep them all in our prayers.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
President and CEO