WHO:Southwest Student Regional Minister Dr. Robert S. Muhammad, Muhammad Mosque No.45, Local Organizing Committee for Justice or Else, Activists, and Affiliated Community Organizations
WHAT: Commemoration of the 50 Year Anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s Refusal to Step Forward for Military Induction and a Demonstration on Behalf of Freedom of Religion, Speech, the Press, and Peaceful Assembly
WHEN: Friday, April 28, 2017, at 11 am CST
WHERE: 701 San Jacinto Street Houston, Texas
CONTACT: (832) 236-9956 or RobertMuhammad@msn.com
Today, We Stand for and with Those Who Sacrifice for Causes Greater than Themselves – We Need Thousands of Muhammad Alis and Colin Kaepernicks!
On Friday, April 28, 2017 at 11 am CST at 701 San Jacinto Street Houston, Texas, Southwest Student Regional Minister Dr. Robert S. Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No.45, activists and community organizations invite the public to commemorate the 50 Year Anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s Refusal to Step Forward for Military Induction and to demonstrate on behalf of Freedom of Religion, Speech, the Press, and Peaceful Assembly.
On April 28, 1967, in Houston, Texas, Minister Muhammad Ali of Muhammad’s Temple No. 45, the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, refused to step forward for induction into the United States military during the Vietnam War. He was subsequently arrested, stripped of his boxing title, denied a license to box, and thereby lost the ability to earn a living in his profession. On June 20th of the same year, Ali was convicted by an all-white jury after only 21 minutes of deliberation and then was sentenced to a five-year prison term and a $10,000 fine. He appealed the conviction but lost three years in the prime of his career before he was granted a license to box again in 1970. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971 (Clay v. United States, 403 U.S. 698). We remind those who cried crocodile tears when Muhammad Ali passed away last year that he was a hated man who was almost universally condemned for changing his name and exercising freedom of religion as a follower of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.
Today, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick joins the ranks of our heroes and heroines who risked lives, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for just causes bigger than themselves. Mr. Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest the killing of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement places him in the proud tradition of sports figures and icons such as Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Curt Flood, Spencer Haywood, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Craig Hodges, and Jackie Robinson; numerous Black Power era martyrs and political prisoners; Hollywood director Spike Lee for his movie Do the Right Thing; entertainer Beyoncé for her Formation halftime performance during Super Bowl 50; and civil rights icons such as Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on the bus; North Carolina Central and Texas Southern University students who sat in at lunch counters; John Lewis et al who marched on Bloody Sunday across the Edmund Pettus bridge; and Muhammad Ali who refused to step forward to be inducted into the military. As long as there is injustice, men and women, regardless of creed, class, or color will be called upon to sacrifice fame and fortune to bring about a just society and the world.
Mr. Colin Kaepernick deserves a tryout based on his on the field statistics and merits. At this stage of his career, he is better than all the backup quarterbacks and half the starters in the NFL. Mr. Kaepernick should not be denied an opportunity to earn a living for peacefully exercising his God given right of free speech. But if he is denied, sports owners and their corporate sponsors will be reminded that taxpayers subsidize stadiums and arenas across the country including Houston’s NRG stadium. Therefore, as consumers and limited partners, we do have some say so about how professional sports franchises and their sponsors conduct their business.
Lastly, we demand that grassroots activists and freedom fighters be allowed to enjoy their God-given rights of religion, speech, press, and peaceful assembly without being targeted and harassed. We demand that our athletes and icons not be forced to be politically correct or silenced by professional sports and the entertainment industry if they choose to stand for divine, human, or constitutional rights. Ali was willing to go to jail and lost 3 years of the prime of his career standing for freedom of religion 50 years ago. We say “As long as there is injustice, we need thousands of Muhammad Alis and Colin Kaepernicks!”
Today, we stand for our God given human rights and we stand with those, past and present, who sacrificed for causes greater than themselves. Our God given rights, spelled out in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, must always be protected and defended without fail. If we do not stand up today our cowardice will pass on injustice to our children and grandchildren.
#StandforFreedom #StandforDivineRights #StandforJustice #ThousandsofMuhammadAlis_ColinKaepernicks
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Partial List of Supporters to Date
Southwest Student Regional Minister Dr. Robert S. Muhammad, Muhammad Mosque No.45
Local Organizing Committee for Justice or Else
Deloyd Parker, SHAPE Community Center
Ovide Duncantell, Black Heritage Society
National Black United Front, Houston Chapter
Elder Jean Wilkins-Dember, Afrikans for Sanity Now!
Shrine of the Black Madonna, Pan-African Orthodox Christian Church
Professor Michon Benson, Ph.D.
Carroll Salley, Exemplary Education Consultants
John “Bunchy” Crear, the Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party
Attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem, Queendom Come, Inc.
Gloria Rubac, Workers World Party
Krystal Muhammad, Chairwoman New Black Panther Party
The Southern Student Leadership Association of Texas Southern University
Calandria Simpson-Kemp, Village of Mothers
Michael “Big Tex” Holiday, Personal Security Expert, community organizer and activist
Larry McKinzie, Education reform advocate
Ty Ross, Peace and anti-violence advocate
Professor Sherri Simmons-Horton, Criminal Justice advocate
Steven Goumier, U.S. Army Veteran
Kathy Ballard Blueford Daniels, (All BLAC Moms) Black, Latino, Asian, Caucasian Mourners of Murder
Hip Hop Artist Cl’Che, Artist Respecting Community
Cashima “Cash” Major, Community Organizer and anti-violence advocate
Houston Forward Times
Jaye Delai, Host of the Jaye Delai Show