UWSP Alumnus Keynote Speaker at MLK Celebration

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

A former NFL player and UW-Stevens Point alumnus is taking the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to heart.

Zaki Ali was the keynote speaker of an MLK celebration in Stevens Point Monday night and he knows how to dream big.

Hundreds filled the auditorium at Stevens Point Area High School in honor of King.

The celebration was held by Justiceworks, Portage county's non-profit community justice program.

Singers sang and dancers danced in remembrance of MLK, and Ali told the crowd his story.

As a boy, he says he volunteered with his single mother during the civil rights movement, and even helped gather signatures to create the national holiday on King's birthday.

He says King's "I Have a Dream" message inspired him to go beyond his humble circumstances.

"If you are motivated by something that you truly believe in, something you hold near and dear, you will move mountains to achieve that goal," he said.

Ali overcame poverty and a learning disability, and went on to play in the nfl and receive a law degree.

He's now a criminal defense attorney.

He asked the crowd to get involved and to stop taking from the community, but to give to the community.

"You can start right where you are, you can donate your time and you can volunter," he said.

According to Justiceworks, Monday's event was intended to educate the community on the historical significance of the civil rights movement...and recognize the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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