Muhammad Ali: The Champion of Charity

Muhammad Ali was Superman. Think about it–he was a symbol of hope for millions of people and remains indestructible. The dude in the blue tights whose adventures we’ve collected under our beds for decades ain’t got nothin’ on M.A., in terms of goodworks.

The handsome Charlie Brown faced Heavy-weight Champion of the world not only raised millions for Parkinsons’ Disease research (which he was diagnosed with in 1984) through his Center. But also used his celeb status to raise money for Make-a-Wish Foundation and Special Olympics.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world with his kindness and compassion; exhibited by his grand gestures of humanity. Like the time in 1998 the champ delivered $ 1.2 million of medical supplies to Cuba.

 

The champ extended his peacemaking efforts by stepping in to release an Iranian hostage.

Lest we mention Muhammad Ali’s volunteer work in soup kitchens in his hometown of Louisville.

We can go on and on and on. The point remains it doesn’t get any greater than Muhammad Ali G.O.A.T.

Happy Birthday Trayvon! Our 21 Wishes for You

trayvon-martin-by-brian-kirhagis

Today is Trayvon Martin’s birthday. He would’ve turned 21 today. Likely to swap those Skittles and Iced Tea for a ceremonious Corona. Sadly we’ll never know because the last time he blew out his candles (at 17) a full month hadn’t passed where he could feel the full weight of them.

And with each milestone that passes we feel the anger and trauma. Yet, it can’t blind us from fulfilling the wishes Trayvon had and others just like him–Sean Bell, Akai Gurley, Freddie Gray and Mike Brown. But guide us to create our own wishlist in their honor.

1. We wish you an eternity of peace. Freedom from judgment and harassment for being who you are.

2. We wish you could see how strong your parents are coping, with you gone.

3. Our wish is that you’re an angel. A guardian angel protecting innocent lives and shielding them against evil in all its many forms.

4. We wish you have a never ending supply  of candy and Arizona Iced T wherever you are.

5. We wish you knew that you’re a history maker and tide changer. A symbol to a historic movement–not a statistic.

6. We wish your birthday, your life will never be forgotten.

7. We wish you could have made it to space, for real. But, we’ll settle with seeing you amongst the stars.

8. We wish football and snowboarding is as much fun in heaven as it is down here.

9. We wish you are roaming freely with your hoodie up.

10. We wish you are among good company.

11. We wish your life mattered more

12. We wish justice was served in your murder

13. We wish you could see the impact of your foundaton.

14. We wish you can see your brother grow into the man you should have been.

15. We wish your life mattered

16. We wish your life mattered

17. We wish your life mattered

18. We wish your life mattered

19. We wish your life mattered

20. We wish your life mattered

21. We wish you were here to keep wishing.

 

 

R.I.P Joan Rivers: Short on Compliments, Generous with Kind Works

joanrivers

What hasn’t already been said about the comedic queen of gab’s untimely passing? Yes, she was an acerbic tongued, plastic surgery addicted crowned KING of reading our thoughts and hilariously saying them aloud, without blushing. But that was Joan Rivers. The mean girl we would begrudgingly admit to literally LOL-ing over her flippant evisceration of Nicki Minaj’s red carpet getup on “Fashion Police.” Or revel at her exchanging insults with the world’s most famous pig and then getting into a red carpet throwdown. 

Yet, as accustomed as we were to Joan Rivers, Joan Rosenberg (her birth name) was someone we are just now getting acquainted with. She’s the gal that didn’t get the headlines from making a Ray J sextape because she was too busy volunteering for God’s Love We Deliver every Thanksgiving.

joangodslove

Joan volunteering at God’s Love We Deliver.

She was the one that battled with attempted suicide–as well as living with the aftermath of her husband’s suicidal death– when Joan Rivers was going through a mandatory career hiatus. And got an unlikely guardian angel (disguised as her dog) to prevent her from doing it. But was extremely vocal about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention‘s support. Prompting them to release this statement:

Joan Rivers, you will be remembered for your brilliance as a comedian, but we at AFSP want to thank you for inspiring so many survivors of suicide loss to speak out and find their way forward after the death of a loved one. Your courage and your work helped give the suicide prevention efforts in the United States the momentum they needed to become a national movement.  We’ll miss you.

And became just as adamant a supporter for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. In fact she was going to be the guest of honor at the Canine Heroes Auction later on this month.

As we say a fond farewell, judging by her last requests it will be a star-studded one, to a comedic pioneer let’s also give a nod to the generous spirit that was rarely seen, but will be dearly missed.

One last tickle: “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware” R.I.P Joan Rivers

Robin Williams Leaves Legacy of Charitable Good Works

RobinWilliams

There are very few performers that can seesaw between drama and comedy as effortlessly as Robin Williams did. How he managed to make me cry from laughter playing Mrs. Doubtfire, and also shed a tear of sorrow when counseling a baby-faced Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” is wrapped around one word: genius. It’s a word tossed around too much these days, but one most fitting for Robin Williams rare breed. He was a star that could sparkle with a maniacal wit and dim with wisdom and understanding on the big screen.

It wasn’t until this week that I discovered his generosity extended off set when he gave his comedy colleague a pick-me-up gift in the form of a bicycle to lift his spirits. And despite being the biggest star on set of a St. Jude Children’s hospital  PSA, he treated the hospital’s co-star/patient like the true star.

And lest I forget he was one of the few performers who still entertained the troops. In the U.S. and outside it, he brought his comedy routine to 90 thousand troops in 13 different countries with the United Services Organization, a non-profit that helps boost U.S. troops morale, according to CNN.

Click here to see Robin Williams explain why he goes out of his way to entertain the troops.

The USO released a statement of sadness on Twitter when they learned Williams’ died.

And I share that same melancholy over his loss and I’m also grateful for his very worthy verse.

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Holly Robinson-Peete Writes Farewell Message to Avonte Oquendo

R.I.P Avonte

R.I.P Avonte

The search has stopped. The 14-year-old autistic boy that volunteers, cops and family members have been combing New York City streets for for three  months has been discovered. Avonte Oquendo’s body parts and clothing has been found washed ashore on the East River in Queens. DNA confirmed that the body parts–left arm, legs and torso–were a match for Avonte yesterday evening.

For obvious reasons, it’s a punch in the gut to family members and volunteers, who persevered through the changing seasons and loss of interest by law enforcement, determined to find the little boy whose love of trains tempted him to wander off like this before.

This time was different. He wasn’t found at any of the 468 subway stations in NYC or anywhere else. Until now. It’s not the happy ending we all hoped, prayed and wished for. But a small part of me is grateful he was at least found, because now the family has found closure.

Actress Holly Robinson-Peete, who has an autistic child and runs a foundation dedicated to autism, visited Avonte’s family last year, offered these sullen and sharp words to those listening:

Rest with angels, Sweet baby boy. I am so sorry that adults failed you that day. I am so sorry you were not protected in a place that was supposed to protect and look out for you as you ran into a world you couldn’t navigate on your own… I pray for your family that they have courage and strength to endure this agony. I pray that NO OTHER FAMILY ever has to endure such an unthinkable and preventable tragedy. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏#ripavonteoquendo#autism #wandering #wakeUP

R.I.P Avonte, may your death not be held in vain.