One glorious day in 1985, at the United Nations General Assembly, Jose Sulaiman received from the Secretary General, Javier Enrique Pérez de Cuellar, a citation for his tireless work against discrimination and in favor of human inclusion and the fundamental rights of equality
José Sulaiman’s spirit, humanity and example lives on, actively promoting human equality and the culture of peace, as a vital lesson of life.
Jose Sulaiman and his legacy are directly linked with the efforts of the Holy Father Francisco and his Pontifex Foundation Scholas Ocurrentes.
Pope Francis visited Mozambique, Africa and Don Jose´s legacy was manifested when His Holiness inaugurated the surf school in Tofo, which is named “José Sulaimán.”
Africa’s relationship with my Dad dates back to the 40s. My Grandfather Don Elias sent him to meet his family, located near Boston. He took the GreyHound bus in Texas, and it was on that route that he witnessed and experienced the horrendous practice of racial discrimination.
Bus sections, restaurants and bathrooms for African-Americans embossed with the shameful letters “Black section,” an appalling degradation to the Human Race, that Don José hated and loathed until his last breath. That trip left forever changed, marked, inspired and determined Don Jose to do everything within his power to combat the evil of racism.
In the late 1960s, my Father traveled as a supervisor of the World Boxing Council (WBC) to South Africa. On the flight there was the challenger, who had African origin. He talked to him a lot and assured him that he would be close, alert and attentive to anything he needed.
Upon landing, they were immediately separated, and he did not see him again until the dressing room, minutes before the fight. Three arrogant white men entered, and read a preposterous manifest to the boxer, naming him “ A temporally honorary white ” to allow him to get into the ring that night.
It was in 1975, when my Father was elected WBC President in Tunisia, Africa, and he accepted, under the condition of being able to take actions and measures to change the world of boxing.
His first decision was to expel South Africa from the WBC. He imposed a suspension to that country, and fought Apartheid. Leading by example and leading from the front Don Jose motivated and inspired many sports organizations to do the same.
One glorious and forever memorable day in 1985, at the UN General Assembly, José Sulaimán received from the Secretary General, Javier Enrique Pérez de Cuéllar, a citation for the tireless and courageous work in favor of human equality and inclusion. That was the culmination of his pilgrimage and apostolate for serving the world, through sports and boxing.
It was in 1999, in Johannesburg, South Africa, when Nelson Mandela attended the inaugural session of the annual World Boxing Council Convention.
As President of that country, and in the company of the world boxing community, Nelson Mandela lifted aloft his Green and Gold belt, when he was named world champion of equality and peace. A clear and resounding recognition of Don Jose`s courageous pioneering stance in the era of Apartheid. This is how we celebrate a unique moment championed by Don José. It forms an integral part of his extraordinary and magnificent legacy.
A few days ago, my Dad was posthumously honored in the name of all the boxers, who are world´s most extraordinary and humble athletes. A great tribute, when naming the surf school in Tofo, Mozambique, in Africa after him.
The José Sulaimán School, through its Scholas Ocurrentes Foundation, and on the recommendation of its World Presidents: José María del Corral and Enrique Palmeyro, being the only installation of the hundreds that exist, with a proper name in recognition of the contribution, to caring, service, inclusion and peace.
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