(CBS Local)- Laila Ali's father, Muhammad Ali, is now one of the most revered athlete activists of all-time. As the country continues to come to terms with its history of police brutality and systemic racism, brought to the forefront by the recent protests, Ali is hopeful that the movement will continue to push forward, long after the protests and unrest begins to peter out.
"We want to make sure this continues happening because we've marched before, we've protested before. We've been complaining for many years," said Ali in a conversation with Swin Cash on the latest episode of CBS Sports Network's We Need To Talk. "I think that, for the first time in history, we've seen so many people globally taking a stand for Black people, which is absolutely amazing, but I want people to keep this same energy going forward."
For Ali, she grew up in a household in which activism and standing up for what you believe is right, even when it is unpopular, was not only encouraged but taught by her father's actions. She has watched as the world shunned Colin Kaepernick when he took a stand in 2016 and says that it's sad that black people in America are still fighting just to have their lives simply matter in 2020.
"Obviously, I grew up watching my father and his activism," said Ali. "I've seen the change that he made in people's lives and even when it was uncomfortable, even when it was unpopular, he was taking those stands kind of like Colin Kaepernick did. It was such a big deal for him to kneel and protest and now people see what he was trying to say. I think it is sad that my father and what he was fighting for and what our ancestors and people that came before us were fighting for, we're still fighting for in 2020. My father's children and grandchildren, we're simply just asking to matter."
For Cash, who is the VP of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, she thinks a big part of the solution is for people to see representation in positions of leadership.
"People need to see a variety of people, like 'What do role models look like? How can I aspire to be that?' So, we need to see representation. It's one of the reasons I took the position I have right now with the Pelicans – it wasn't only about the fact that, yeah, it's a challenge for me, I wanted to get in there and roll up my sleeves and get it done," said Cash. "But I didn't only want to be in the room. I knew I was going to be the only woman in the room. I knew I was going to be the first African-American woman in the room, but I also wanted to be heard."
In addition to the discussion between Ali and Cash, the June episode of We Need To Talk features panelists Katrina Adams, Lisa Leslie, Andrea Kremer and Tracy Wolfson. Interviews are conducted with new Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, tennis players Francis Tiafoe and Ayan Bloomfield. The episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS Sports Network.
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