It was in August, 2013, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous I HAVE A DREAM speech.
The doorbell rang, and I was annoyed. The Detroit Tigers were playing in the 9th inning, and I didn't appreciate the disruption.
A very nice looking young lady was at the door with a pad of paper. Was I concerned about pollutants being dumped into the Great Lakes? Frankly, at the moment, I was not. I was hoping that Miguel Cabrera would hit a ball over the fence. I tried to be polite. The woman, probably in her 20s, was well dressed and obviously on a mission. She knew her subject backward and forward. I didn't have to donate money, although it would be appreciated. Would I at least sign the sheet showing my neighbors that I cared? Would I consider sending a letter about this issue to others? A template would be provided. I hurriedly signed my name to the sheet so that I could get back to the ball game.
The more I thought about it after she left, the more ashamed I became.
I DO care about the quality of our lakes and streams...they are a part of Pure Michigan that I love. It was the dinner hour, and this person was concerned enough about the problem to do something about it, to get others involved, to give up a nice meal, to risk being shunned by impatient people like me. She had the facts and figures, she knew who to contact, she knew what had to be said...and all I wanted to do was get back to the ball game.
I can't call her up, I can't apologize, there's no way I can make up for my rude behavior. But I can pay tribute to Ms. Unknown. She has a dream. She's not going to see the benefits of her actions...but her kids and grand-kids might. Her fight is not that different than ours...those of us at HFP who want to find better alternatives to the way Michigan treats its prisoners. And our fight is not that much different than that of the late Dr. King, who had a dream that one day people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
God bless you, Ms. Unknown. May you and I and Dr. King keep on dreaming, and may all who strive for good causes be an example to others, because the dreams must go on.
To quote Dr. King: "With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."