The event was orchestrated to encourage participants to commit to serving others and to stand up for what they believe. In honor of this mission, families were tasked to reflect on Ali’s life principles of: Respect, Dedication, Confidence, Conviction, Giving, and Spirituality. They were also asked to choose one of the principles, relate it to their personal life and share their responses in a creative way. The submissions were extremely diverse, each one creatively capturing the essence of Ali’s foundation.
Londyn Douglass, age 8, daughter of Habitat homeowner Tiffany Douglass, caught everyone’s attention with her painted poster of a rainbow headlined with the written words, “Sharing is Caring.” When handed a microphone, she welcomed the opportunity to share with the crowd the meaning behind her poster. She spoke with confidence and connected with everybody in the room. Her words and picture truly embraced the simple inspirational mission of Habitat Chesapeake and Generation Ali.
As the event continued, Harbaugh took the opportunity to share his story and reflect on how Ali served as an inspiration in his personal life. For him, Ali was an important role model, who taught him to “attack everyday with enthusiasm,” a lesson he teaches on the field and to his own family.
Despite his battle with Parkinson’s disease, Ali’s cheerful attitude and strong spirit radiated throughout the room. As part of the event, children had the opportunity to trace Ali’s hand and their own and form a collaborative image. Through these interactive events, Ali hopes to inspire all generations to live with compassion and act as a catalyst for global change. As he did in the boxing ring, Ali encourages people to become heroes and leaders in their own communities and to stand strong and overcome adversity.
Most of the stadium event attendees are currently partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build their own homes. Qualified families contribute 250-300 “sweat equity” hours working alongside Habitat volunteers on build sites. In recognition of the homeowners’ hard work, Ali’s devoted wife Lonnie shared her touching stories of motherhood and honored the families for their dedication and perseverance. On behalf of her husband, she thanked the families for sharing their stories and explained how they were essential to creating Generation Ali.
Over the years, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has worked with hundreds of families to help provide simple, decent housing and encourage Baltimore area residents to make a difference in their community. Working with Generation Ali enabled Habitat Chesapeake to expand the circle of encouragement that surrounds future homeowners. To help continue Muhammad Ali’s legacy, Habitat would like to encourage everybody to celebrate what brings people together. To find out more about Generation Ali, please visit their website.