A new traveling exhibition celebrating diversity and trailblazers called “Breaking Barriers: Sports for Change” has opened at the Muhammad Ali Center just in advance of the coming “I Am Ali” festival.

The exhibit features images, video and narratives of pioneering athletes in the civil and human rights movements. From Jackie Robinson to Billie Jean King to Arthur Ashe to myriad Special Olympics athletes, these public figures are celebrated for their groundbreaking achievements, often in the face of tremendous prejudice and adversity.

“The Ali Center is honored to offer this exhibit, for it demonstrates ways in which athletes — including Muhammad Ali — have utilized sport as a platform to transform social issues and to raise awareness of how sport can be used to unite people and open doors,” said Jeanie Kahnke, PR director for the center, in a news release.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by ESPN and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Derreck Kayongo, chief executive of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, said: “Similar to Ali’s legacy, the exhibit shares how athletes have empowered people to stand up and protect human rights. Their courageous struggles in America and around the globe gave people everywhere the strength to persevere and make change happen in their communities.”

The “I Am Ali” festival, the six-week, communitywide festival celebrating the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali, takes place from June 3-July 15. The “Breaking Barriers” exhibit is free with admission and continues through Aug. 4.


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