LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was a star-studded event in downtown Louisville Thursday night. Several famous people received the first annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian awards.
The awards celebrate the greatness of people around the world who are making a difference in their community and beyond. Former president Jimmy Carter did not make an appearance but sent his son Chip instead. Michael Bolton and Christina Aguilera were in attendance. Founder and CEO of Louisville-based Waterstep Mark Hogg was named the 2013 Kentucky Humanitarian.
This was the first time the awards would be handed out. For those being honored and those in attendance it was clearly a special night.
“You don’t have to have a big organization; you don’t have to have raised a lot of money. You just have to have a good plan, be dedicated, and just be making changes. Even small changes can turn into big ones,” Ali’s daughter Laila, echoing her father’s philosophy on helping others, said.
His first ever Humanitarian Awards would go to those living and working by his six core values: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, spirituality and respect.
“You know, when my father was president, Muhammad Ali was the most famous person in the world and it was respect because they respected him, but they knew he respected them,” Chip Carter said.
Six young adults from around the world were selected for each exemplifying one of those six core values. They were flown in to receive their awards tonight.
Ali’s wife Lonnie, daughters Laila and Miya, and brother Rahman all attended the gala.
“It reflects my brother perfectly; he was a gentleman, a kind-hearted person, a sweetheart. People love him. Love brought the people out tonight cause Muhammad Ali’s all about love,” Rahman explained.
Aguilera was named the Humanitarian of the year for her work with YUM! Brands to bring an end to hunger around the globe. It’s an award she said, in an emotional acceptance speech that stands out.
“I’ve had a lot of great successes and I’ve been fortunate enough to, you know win a few Grammys… But, from my heart, it really means a lot to be recognized for what’s important to me,” the singer said, referencing her desire to connect people all over the world.
Michael Bolton received an award for working toward gender equality. Also, founder and CEO of Louisville based Waterstep Mark Hogg was named the 2013 Kentucky Humanitarian. He’s been working to bring an end to the world’s water crisis. Something he believes will happen in our lifetime.