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Ali Humanitarian Awards honor legend's core principles

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - It's been nearly three months since Muhammad Ali's death, but he continues to be honored in his hometown. After Saturday's tributes at the University of Louisville football game, hundreds of people packed the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville for the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards. It was the fourth year for the ceremony, but it was the first time to do it without its namesake in the audience.

“I think he’s here today anyways, but I think he’d be so proud to see all of the recipients of the awards really being Ali," Ali's daughter Jamillah Ali said.

“We know that daddy is here tonight. We’ve seen just so many beautiful people here to honor my dad’s legacy with his humanitarianism," Ali's daughter Rasheda Ali said.

Conviction, confidence, giving, dedication, spirituality, and respect are the six core principles of Muhammad Ali. They are the convictions, the foundations, and truths by which the Champ not only lived his life, but inspired countless others to do the same.

“There’s an Ali in all of us, and I think that my dad inspires us to be the best version of ourselves," Rasheda Ali said.

The Humanitarian Awards are a true representation of just that, highlighting the best of humanity from across the country and the world.

“We’re also honoring a number of folks who are literally changing the world. He is smiling, so honored to be a part of it. Love Louisville, great to be back.” the awards' master of ceremonies Craig Melvin said.

Humbled and honored are usually two very common words tossed around at any type of awards ceremony.That certainly held true at Saturday's Humanitarian Awards, but the word inspired can also easily be added to that list. Without fail, everyone WHAS11 talked to was quick to say just how much the Champ has forever changed their lives.

“The fact that he was able to really stand up for his beliefs for equality and justice and was so determined with conviction, and he never gave up on those causes. So, that’s what really inspires me and I hope that I can also continue that with my career and my life," the Respect Award winner Tina Hovsepian said.

The winners represent all walks of life. There are the famous actresses, the nonprofit executives, and those working for specific causes like ending human trafficking.

“He, as you know, the core of what he believed in was not only human rights but dignity for people. These children, and women, and little boys have all been stripped of all of that," Lifetime Achievement Award winner Cindy Hensley McCain said.

“When I found out that I had been nominated, it was the exact same day that the Emmy nominations were coming out, and my immediate response was well, I didn’t get an Emmy, but I got an Ali," Global Citizenship Award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph said.

Ali may no longer be here in person, but his spirit will always take center stage.

“People think of Muhammad Ali as the greatest boxer of all time, but what he wanted to be known as was the greatest humanitarian of all time," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Mayor Fischer is also encouraging everyone to continue volunteering and giving back to the community. He said there is no better way to honor Ali than that.

Here's a full list of the award winners:

  • Cindy Hensley McCain- Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Jon Secada- Humanitarian of the Year
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. - Education Award
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph -Global Citizenship Award
  • John Rosenberg- Kentucky Humanitarian Award
  • Josh Nesbit- Confidence Award
  • Shawana Shah- Conviction Award
  • Curt Bowen- Dedication Award
  • Jakob Schillinger- Giving Award
  • Tina Hovsepian- Respect Award
  • Navonel Glick- Spirituality Award

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