PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the world responds with outrage to the killing of George Floyd and begins to open up a much-needed dialogue about race and justice, one man who was ahead of his time was boxer Muhammad Ali.
Ali was a fighter in the ring and out of it, standing up for equal rights without backing down.
Ali was a major voice and advocate for Civil Rights and other political issues, like his stance against enlisting in the Army and fighting in the Vietnam War because of racial inequality in America.
On the fourth anniversary of his death from Parkinson's Disease, his family is sounding off about the killing of Floyd at the hands police, racial injustice and the unrest in the country.
"My grandfather called himself the greatest, that was not just a self-statement, that was a statement as a black man. For a black man to call himself the greatest that was inherently a challenge to white supremacy," said Jacob Ali-Werthheirmer, the grandson of Ali.
Ali's daughter, Khaliah, says her dad would not want the family to sit by quietly, but to use their voices to speak out against injustice and inequality.
"These are the moments that are most defining when his voice is missed the most and we are doing our best to be apart of it, to be apart of change," said Khaliah.
The Ali family also voiced support for NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Most notable was former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kapernick. The league has now apologized for not listening to players about racism. Khaliah says Kapernick is this generation's Muhammad Ali.
"Yes, the parallels do run strong between Colin and my father. Both in exile, both stood up to something they believed in and weren't popular at a certain point in history until America shifted and they were able to hear the message that they were sending," said Khaliah.
"You can't love my grandfather, you can't love the stance that he took and then try to shame Colin Kapernick. Colin took a knee to racial injustice and police brutality and my grandfather stood against the very same thing," said Jacob.
The Ali family says they don't want the protest for equality to stop with the protests. They say even when the demonstrations are over, the fight will continue. They encourage everyone to get out and vote and to continue to denounce and speak out against inequality and injustice.
Muhammad Ali's family speaks out against racial injustice following killing of George Floyd
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