Muhammad Ali once said his “greatness came and started in Louisville.”
Now his name will be among the first things visitors and travelers see when they fly into his beloved hometown.
City officials announced Wednesday that Louisville International Airport will be renamed after the boxer and humanitarian often called “the Greatest.”
The new name: Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.
“Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people.
“It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ’s legacy,” Fischer continued. “And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step.”
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority board approved Fischer’s motion that the airport be renamed. But the SDF code will not change, officials said.
An airport authority working group began meeting in November 2017 to consider renaming the airport after Ali, who would have turned 77 years old Thursday.
Board member Dale Boden said the group’s research and surveys of local and national audiences revealed that while Ali is “universally recognized” and “remembered positively by the vast majority” of people, many do not know Ali is from Louisville.
“We felt a clear takeaway was that the profile of our city could be greatly enhanced by associating Ali’s name with our airport,” Boden said, adding that officials hope the name change will eventually result in increased traffic at the airport “as the city increases the promotion of tourism related to Muhammad Ali.”
Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, said the airport must notify the Federal Aviation Administration of the name change. FAA approval should come fairly quickly, Mann said, as the SDF code will not change.
Officials must then finalize an agreement with Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC for use of Ali’s name and likeness, Mann said.
“I think we are 99 percent there with that agreement, so that would really be the second step which we think we can execute in the next week or two,” Mann said.
The agreement with Ali’s representatives will be in perpetuity and have no associated fees, Mann said.
Finally, officials will spend $100,000 to change the airport’s marketing and branding elements over the next two to three months to reflect Ali’s presence and align with city tourism efforts, Mann said.
Costs with incorporating Ali’s name and brand will also be rolled into the $100 million project to upgrade the airport’s terminal, jetways, rental car area, elevators and moving walkways over the next three to five years, Mann said. A new international port of entry at Louisville’s airport is also in the works.
Officials hope all of the marketing changes will be set in time for the “I Am Ali” Festival in June, which marks the anniversary of Ali’s death in 2016.
No statues of Ali will be added at the airport in order to respect Ali’s Muslim faith background, Fischer said.
Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s widow, said she’s proud the city is changing the name “to reflect Muhammad’s impact on the city and his love for his hometown.”
“I am happy that visitors from far and wide who travel to Louisville will have another touch point to Muhammad and be reminded of his open and inclusive nature, which is reflective of our city,” she said in a news release. “Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy.”
Ali died at the age of 74 on June 3, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona, from septic shock. Days later, Louisville held what is regarded as the “most widely covered Muslim funeral ever held in the U.S.” Thousands of Ali’s admirers, including celebrities, international leaders and politicians, packed the Kentucky Exposition Center on June 9 for his memorial service.
Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942. He grew up in western Louisville in a one-story, wood-frame house at 3302 Grand Ave., where he lived from the time he was a toddler.
Greg Fischer speaks about renaming the Louisville Inter Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal
Several years ago, an airport terminal was renamed for longtime Mayor Jerry Abramson. The airport was formerly known as Standiford Field (SDF).
In 2016, a petition calling for the airport to be named after Ali was submitted to Fischer and the airport board. Louisville resident Robert Holmes III, who authored the petition, said it eventually garnered over 14,000 signatures.
The petitioners noted that “Ali inspired people all over the world to come together and shed our differences. This is an opportunity to unite in Ali’s life mission. We humbly invite you to join our effort to rename our airport to Muhammad Ali International.”
In a 2017 op-ed in the Courier Journal, Louisville Urban League president and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds also called for changing the airport’s name to honor “the first son of Louisville.”
“Who better to honor with the renaming of our airport? He is a symbol of what our city is aspiring to be,” Reynolds wrote. “We strive to be a city where race doesn’t matter, religion doesn’t matter and who you love is not a barrier.”
Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville, said the center is proud of the regional airport authority’s “forward-thinking decision regarding the airport’s name change.”
“We are confident that with this announcement, Louisville will continue to be seen around the world as a bold, compassionate city, and prompt an increase in visitors to all our great attractions.”
Fischer said it is the city’s “obligation and opportunity to showcase the many stories and complexities that made up the man known as ‘The Greatest of All Time.’ “
“Certainly, Muhammad faced discrimination and the impact of inequality, and he wasn’t shy about sharing his views on those challenges,” Fischer said. “There’s just nobody else in recorded history other than folks that we deify that’s had this type of impact on so many people.”
BLAQER Influence: Black 10K Project
In this episode, we chat with 2 of the co-founders of the Black 10K Project, a crowdfunding platform recently launched with the idea of enabling black investors to invest in black businesses and startups. We dig into some of the details around how they started but, more importantly, what they hope to accomplish with this endeavor. This is an amazing cause that I want to be sure everyone is aware of as so many folks will benefit, and you can get on the action as well.
You can also listen and follow our podcast station on Spotify
Wake Up! 6 Ways to Stop Treating Your Life Like a To-Do List
I pride myself on my productivity and for years prided myself on my ability to “multitask.” I live – LIVE I tell you – for the moment when I can drag my pen across an item on my to-do list. Once I reach a goal, I quickly move on to the next.
That’s what society calls for to be successful, right? Hustling, crushing goals, moving at breakneck speed through life in the pursuit of feeling accomplished? I’ve realized recently that approaching life in that way has left me feeling like I haven’t lived much at all.
What about you—when was the was the last time you watched a tv show without picking up your phone to check your email at some point? Or succeeded at something you’ve worked tirelessly toward and actually savored your win before thinking, “what’s next?”
We’re missing all of the moments that are meant to be savored in the pursuit of productivity.
Here are some ways we can start being active participants in our lives and stop living on autopilot.
1. Tune into your body’s needs.
Pause right now. Take a deep breath. What is your body asking for? Productivity calls for getting ish done regardless of our mental or physical state. But what do you actually need right now? Is it some alone time, a glass of water, or a chance to connect with a friend? Getting still once in a while is necessary for understanding what you need to thrive.
2. Schedule time for nothing.
Adding yet another appointment in order to break free from your to-do list may seem counterintuitive. But if you operate best on a set schedule then actively blocking off time will guarantee time to let your guard down. Block off a few hours in your week to step away from busyness. Give yourself what you need in that particular moment.
3. Take a device-free walk.
Leave the earbuds at home and take the time to listen to your surroundings. Soak in your environment: what you’re hearing, what you’re seeing, and what the ground feels like under your feet. Taking a walk is a simple (and free) act that can keep you in the moment.
4. Get out of your comfort zone.
Do you find yourself turning away from new experiences because they get in the way of being productive? It’s probably time to give yourself a new experience. Trying something new can stimulate curiosity and imagination, which are essential to the human experience.
5. Keep your “why” in mind.
Why are you hustling each day? What are you striving for? In going about your day-to-day keeping the “why” front and center in your mind can keep you grounded in your life purpose and what really matters to you.
6. Celebrate you!
You’ve probably been so focused on what’s needs to be done that you haven’t celebrated all that has been done. The end of the year is a great time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished this year. Whether you bought a home, traveled somewhere new, or survived a tough emotional situation this year, celebrate it!
Julius P. Williams Elected First African American President of the Conductors Guild
Julius P. Williams, professor in the Composition Department at Berklee College of Music, was named the first African American president of the Conductors Guild. His two-year term began on January 3.
In its 34th year, the Conductors Guild is a global membership organization encompassing conductors of symphony, opera, ballet, choral, band, contemporary, and chamber ensembles. The organization trains and mentors conductors of all ages, races, and education levels.
Williams is also the artistic director and conductor of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra; music director and conductor of Trilogy: An Opera Company in New Jersey; composer in residence with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and is cover to maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
“The appointment of Julius Williams as president of Conductors Guild is both meaningful and newsworthy. Maestro Williams has not only the stellar credentials, but the right vision, breadth, and leadership to set a powerful example for our field,” said Afa S. Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization. “We applaud the Conductors Guild on this news and look forward to many inspiring programs and ideas that will undoubtedly emerge.”
Williams’s career has taken him from his native New York to musical venues around the globe and has included virtually every musical genre. He has conducted ensembles at Carnegie Hall, and performances with orchestras in Dallas, Savannah, Hartford, Sacramento, Tulsa, and Knoxville, as well as the Harlem Symphony, Armor Artist Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Opera, and Kalistos Chamber Orchestra in Boston.
“Julius Williams is a talented leader with years of experience as a prominent conductor and composer,” said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. “I’m delighted that he will take the helm at the Conductors Guild.”
The year ahead for the Conductors Guild includes plans for additional conductor training workshops, symposia with leading conductors of the day, including Andris Nelsons and Gianandrea Noseda, as well as an international conference set for February 2020, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain, Montréal.
First Black Man Elected President of the American Nurses Association (ANA)
Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of the American Nurses Association
A distinguished leader, Dr. Grant has more than 30 years of nursing experience and is an internationally recognized burn-care and fire-safety expert. He previously served as the burn outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals in Chapel Hill. In this role, Grant oversaw burn education for physicians, nurses, and other allied health care personnel and ran the center’s nationally acclaimed burn prevention program, which promotes safety and works to reduce burn-related injuries through public education and the legislative process. Grant also serves as adjunct faculty for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where he works with undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the classroom and clinical settings.
Grant is frequently sought out for his expertise as a clinician and educator. In addition to being a prolific speaker, he has conducted numerous burn-education courses with various branches of the U.S. military in preparation for troops’ deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented Grant with a Nurse of the Year Award
for his work treating burn victims from the World Trade Center site. In 2013, Grant received the B.T. Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Fire and Life Safety Education Council for making a difference in preventing the devastating effects of fire and burn injuries and deaths within the state.
An active participant in professional organizations, Grant is a past chair of the National Fire Protection Association board of directors and served as second vice president of the American Burn Association board of trustees. He also holds membership in Sigma Theta Tau and Chi Eta Phi. Grant served as president of the North Carolina Nurses Association from 2009-11. In 2002, ANA honored Grant with the Honorary Nursing Practice Award for his contributions to the advancement of nursing practice through strength of character, commitment, and competence.
Grant holds a BSN degree from North Carolina Central University and MSN and PhD degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2014. He is the first man to be elected to the office of president of the American Nurses Association.
Entrepreneurship-Based Show ‘Hustle’ is Coming to Viceland
Viceland is taking a dip into the startup space with its newest show, Hustle. Just wrapping up production in New York City, the series stars John Henry, a Dominican-American business owner and investor who by 26 has already sold his first company and launched a venture capital fund named Harlem Capital.
The premise of the show is surrounding the new entrepreneur and what it takes to successfully launch a company and get it off the ground. Henry seeks out other New Yorkers, like himself, and helps them turn their business into startups with true potential, pinpointing the exact issues holding them back. He gives them guidance, direction, and resources but, not without putting them to the test. His goal is to set them up with opportunities for their businesses that could potentially catapult them, but it really is up to them whether they sink or rise to the challenges.
So why did Henry take on the challenge of mentoring entrepreneurs in a docu-series format? “When Beth Greenwald originally came to me with the essence of this idea, I knew I wanted to be involved,” says Henry, “We were both passionate to produce and deliver an authentic look at the entrepreneurial journey. Silicon Valley’s narrative has been well documented. But what about the entrepreneurial journey of the rest of the country? And particularly, diverse business owners and entrepreneurs whose perspective has often been overlooked. Thus, Hustle was born.
Hustle puts Henry’s mission of empowering diverse young entrepreneurs on its feet and as he states, “gives the world a new perspective.” That mission has attracted two celebrity entrepreneurs and bona fide New York success stories as executive producers: 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, producer, actress, best-selling author, and activist Alicia Keys and multiple award-winning chef and restaurateur, TV personality, best-selling author and philanthropist Marcus Samuelsson. The show premieres Feb. 10.
Caribbean Women Reported as First All-Black Women’s Rowing Team to Cross Atlantic Ocean in Grueling Sport Competition
Four women from Antigua have just completed a grueling rowing competition and many are heralding them as the first all-black women’s rowing team to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Their official team name is Team Antigua- The Island Girls.
Competitive rowers Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, and Kevinia Francis participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They set course on Dec. 12 from the Canary Islands and landed in Antigua on Jan. 30—a 3,000-mile trip. A fifth member of the team, Junella King did not actively participate in the race, but trained with the others and served as an alternate.
According to the Indy100 website, the rowing race is one of the toughest in the world. Rowers burn an average of 8,000 calories during the competition.
The women competed in name of their chosen charity, Cottage of Hope, which offers short- and long-term residency to girls who are abused, neglected, or orphaned. Their goal was to raise $150,000 for the organization.
The nation of Antigua burst into collective celebration as the women finished the race. As per The Loop, the country’s government officials shortened a budget debate so that politicians could be present when the team arrived in their homeland. Public and private institutions closed early so that more people could meet with and congratulate the team.
The team battled sea sickness and their boat nearly capsized at one point during their journey, reports The Daily Observer. They were presented with a gift by Antigua’s Prime Minister upon their return.
The team’s website has bios of each team member. Christal Clashing is an adventure guide and travel writer. In 2004, she became the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics.
Elvira Bell is a swim instructor and a certified health coach. Samara Emmanuel is the first Antiguan woman to become a certified yacht captain and has more than 12 years’ seafarer experience. She is also a certified day skipper, coastal skipper, yacht master, and boat master among a lengthy list of certifications.
Kevinia Francis is a title-winning, all-around athlete who excels in basketball, cycling, martial arts, and track-and-field.
Junella King is just 17-years-old. She juggles school and sailing while working part-time as a sailing instructor.