So there we were.
Toni, and I sitting around this fine highly decorated dining table, at this Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards at the McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota Campus.
With my senior citizen fixed income, at $150 a plate, I almost didn’t come. But being in the midst of glittering chandeliers in this huge ballroom, surrounded by dignitaries, was kind of cool. “Hi Fritz” (Walter Mondale). I waved across the floor (as if I expected him to know me). “Hey Al” (Franken) “Hi Amy” (Klobuchar). Graciously, they waved back as though they recognized me.
Mondale, America’s 42nd vice president, received the Lifetime Achievement for Public Leadership.
Other recipients were global corporation 3M, and an international nonprofit called Center for Victims of Torture, and four individuals, Katherine Siggerud, Andrew Lugar, Imam Sharif A. Mohamed, and some other guy.
The food was very good, maybe not what one would expect for $300 (two plates). As I munched, and grumbled about the price, I became more and more appreciative, and even astonished of the phenomenal contributions all these guys had made in the face of catastrophic devastation in the lives of people and families.
Before I continue, I must mention that I was personally greeted, and even embraced by her royal majesty-queen, our own Dr. Josie Johnson (just sayin’).
But anyhow, they introduced the other recipient.
“The executive director of Minnesota Children’s Cabinet, he leads state-level efforts building momentum around Minnesota’s youngest learners. He worked in St. Paul as Mayor Coleman’s legislative aid, then served six years on St. Paul’s City Council. Time and time again, he has made a difference on issues of empowerment and justice, in terms of building the Green Line Light Rail, establishing the St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Department, the success of the Promise Neighborhood Project, and other initiatives,” said the introduction.
The fact that this young man has my name sent me into a spiraling quandary as whether or not to share this event. The pretense of objectivity would be too phony and everyone would see through it. At first I decided against writing this piece.
But building education around Minnesota’s precious babies is perhaps the most noteworthy issue. People need to know what is being said, and what is being done at the local and statewide level.
And so, being “at large” with myself, I felt a duty not to withhold information, and just tell what happened.
My son, Melvin W. Carter, III, humble, in his three-minute acceptance speech, stepped to the mic, in recognition of all the greats and legends in the room, and those who came before him shared the following fable.
” A man just lost his life in a great flood was attempting to get into heaven. St. Peter greeted him with the challenge. “In order to get past the Pearly Gates you must impress the heavenly audience with your story. If you impressed them, you’d then be allowed to enter. The man decided to tell them of his great courage in the battle against the raging flood that ultimately cost him his life. Just as the man approached the podium, St. Peter cautioned him. ‘Pst, just remember that Noah is in the audience.'”
Shortly thereafter in an auditorium filled with hundreds of people, Amy, Al, and even Walter went to the mic, and cosigned this young man and his accomplishments.
Later, the judging officials privately told me, and his mother, that they choose him immediately upon seeing his effectiveness in bringing new energy, and resources to children, families, and communities. They said that of all the recipients in his category, he was the easiest to select, and that no one even came close.