Michele Madison honored with 2019 Muhammad Ali Giving award

Kirby Adams | Courier Journal

Award-winning actor and longtime Parkinson's disease advocate Michael J. Fox will be honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Courage at the annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards in Louisville this month.

Fox, best known for his roles in "Back to the Future" and "Family Ties," founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and was a longtime friend of Ali. Debi Brooks, co-founder of the foundation, will accept the award on Fox's behalf at the event.

The awards, an annual fundraiser for the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St., aim to "harness the power of Ali’s legacy by recognizing individuals who are driven by a call to action to effect positive change in the world and to encourage young people worldwide to have the courage to become actively involved in social justice issues," according to a news release announcing the event.

In addition to Fox, the following "seasoned" awardees will be honored:

  • Michael Lang, producer & co-creator of 1969 Woodstock Festival, will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Mark Tewksbury, Olympic Gold Medalist from Canada (swimming) and advocate for justice, fair play, and equal rights, will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality
  • Amy Hehre, CEO and founder of OVI Children’s Hospital in Kenya, will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship
  • Dr. Mark Lynn, owner and operator of 90 Visionworks, president of Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates and philanthropist  will receive the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award

Negin Farsad, writer, director, actor, and social justice comedian will be the host of the 2019 awards at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, 280 W. Jefferson St.

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“Each of this year’s awardees are amazing and purpose-driven individuals who inspire us with their remarkable accomplishments, abilities, and courage to affect lasting change," Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Ali Center, said in the news release.

In addition to the “seasoned” awardees, six people 30 years and under will be honored with an award for each of Muhammad Ali’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.

Here are the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award 2019 Core Principle winners:

  • Waad Al-Kateab, 28, from Syria, is receiving the Conviction Award for her courageous documentation from inside Aleppo which drew international attention to the horrors of the Syrian city under siege. Her film, entitled "For Sama," her daughter's name, is now an award-winning documentary.
  • Shadrack Frimpong, 27, from Ghana, is receiving the Dedication Awardfor establishing Cocoa360, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to facilitate access to education and improve health care through cocoa farming revenue. In less than three years, the organization has cared for 3,000 patients and currently educates 120 young girls.
  • Jared Hiakita, 30, from New Zealand, is receiving the Spirituality Awardfor his work in bettering the environment by delivering waste minimization education and training to the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. He also co-founded Project Whare Paku, which helps people of the Far North reestablish a sense of ownership of their sovereign land by building tiny houses.
  • Majd Almashharawi, 25, from Gaza, is receiving the Confidence Awardfor solving a persistent local challenge of helping to reconstruct buildings destroyed by war in an area where many construction materials don’t make it over the border. She invented a new process for making a strong, low-cost brick from ashes. Majd also created a model for a new women-led business.
  • Laura Ulloa, 29, from Colombia, is receiving the Respect Award for helping former guerrillas in her country get reintegrated into society. Laura was kidnapped and held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia when she was 11 years old. Two years later, her school bus was hijacked and Laura was taken as the sole hostage. Laura works with many agencies, organizations, and projects that are changing lives.
  • Michele Madison, 24, from the United States, is receiving the Giving Award for founding “Farming The Future” in Tallahassee, Florida. The organization provides quality food with an interactive STEM learning experience for community members and schools through aquaponics-based production and 21st-century farming. Her organization also contracts through the Florida government to build greenhouses and aquaponics systems at juvenile detention facilities.

Want to find out more about Farming the Future? Look at our website today for more information about STEM education for K through 12.

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