LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council is calling for the United States Postal Service to recognize Muhammad Ali with his own postage stamp.
The council passed a resolution this week introduced by Councilman Kevin de León, who held a news conference Friday to promote the campaign, called #GetTheChampAStamp.
Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion who once said, “I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked,” lived in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1986.
De León told reporters Ali’s legacy stretches beyond sports and that recognition with a postal stamp is long overdue. Ali was well known for social activism, refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army in 1967 during the Vietnam War, citing his Muslim beliefs after converting to Islam and changing his name.
Ali was convicted of draft evasion and stripped of his title, but had the conviction overturned on appeal, allowing him to return to the ring in 1970.
“He is a man who grew up in the deep South,” de León said. “He is a man who took on the system, the establishment. He objected to participating in a controversial war. He was ostracized by powerful government agencies who targeted him and he just demonstrated resilience and grace and dignity. And he is an example of someone to follow, someone who is inspiring, who is motivated, aside from his athletic achievements.”
Peter Villegas, a board member at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, told City News Service that if Ali gets his own stamp, future generations will be better able to learn about Ali’s impact in history.
“The next generation needs to learn about this man so hopefully they can be impacted, get the confidence, stand up, say what you believe,” Villegas said.
The application process through the Postal Service could take years, but Villegas and other organizers are hoping to spread the word and create momentum for the initiative.
“We need some compassion in this world and this man stood for compassion,” Villegas said. “He always helped, he always gave. And we need to promote that.”