ellman ali 060121NAPERVILLE – On Monday, Jan. 17, Illinois will be celebrating Muhammad Ali Day for the first time, thanks to a resolution sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville).

“Muhammad Ali set a fantastic example for us all by showing how to be dedicated to our passions and courageous in our convictions,” Ellman said. “Through both his athletic career and his philanthropic work, he spent a lifetime working for the betterment of society as a whole.”

Ali was well known for his successful career as a professional boxer. In his 21 year career, he won the Olympic Gold Medal and the heavy weight title three times, earning him the title “America’s Champ.”

Outside of the ring, Ali was a dedicated philanthropist who was known to have deliberate conversations with those holding opposing views as a means to unite people from all walks of life. He also worked with the Special Olympics and the Make a Wish Foundation, and assisted at local soup kitchens and hospitals.

“Ali truly was a champion, both in the ring and outside of it,” Ellman said. “He left behind a legacy that we are proud to commemorate here in Illinois.”

Ali was a devoted Muslim who worked to show the world that Islam means peace, and he credited his faith for giving him the courage to stand up against injustices worldwide. Even after retiring from the ring and being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Ali remained dedicated to his work as a global humanitarian and ambassador of goodwill.

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day also falls on Jan. 17, offering Illinoisans the opportunity to celebrate two American champions of civic justice, and to remember and perpetuate their courage and hope for a better world for all.