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Next week, Heritage Toronto and the Ossington Community Association will present a plaque commemorating the 1966 Muhammad Ali vs. George Chuvalo fight. Tied to the 50th anniversary of this historic boxing match, we now find this plaque resonates with recent events in the US.
Muhammad Ali’s fight against Canadian champion George Chuvalo came at a pivotal time in Ali’s career. Ali was in Toronto because he was effectively banned from competing in the United States due to his controversial support for the group Nation of Islam, and his opposition to the Vietnam War.
Before #TakeAKnee, Ali stood up. He risked his career, and also his freedom, facing prison time for his beliefs. His reasons echo those of the athletes peacefully protesting today – the experience faced by Black Americans at home:
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?… I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.”
The NFL and NBA players are following in Ali’s footsteps by exercising their right to protest and taking a knee during the national anthem. It’s one of Ali’s legacies – “The Greatest” boxer and political activist, of his time.
Casual refreshments to follow (cash bar). Please note that the venue is not fully accessible (20 stairs).
Date: Thursday, October 12, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Location: Lower Ossington Theater (100 Ossington Ave )