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  • Doug Tjapkes

I'm hoping we meet next Tuesday!

Anniversaries, especially for stores and organizations, are a great time for celebration. “It’s our 20th Anniversary Sale!” “50 years in business, and you’re invited to celebrate with us!” We read these ads in the newspaper, and we hear these loud and noisy commercials on television. Meanwhile, August 29, 2021, quietly came and went. That was the date, 20 years earlier, that we signed legal documents forming an organization now called HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. No fanfare. No celebration. No fireworks or confetti. Instead, our small team of workers and volunteers kicked butt, trying to answer the calls and pleas for help from hundreds of Michigan prisoners. Sometimes up to 2,000 calls a month! Well, to be clear, we are going to celebrate. Next Tuesday, October 19, is the date for our annual HFP Community Author Lecture Series. Due to COVID, nobody will be attending because we can’t hold it in a public hall. It’s anybody’s guess how many will actually celebrate with us, because the observance will be live-streamed. BUT, I hope you will be there! You’ve been with me on this blog site for a long time, and you know where I stand, what I think. Next Tuesday, I’ll be delivering the main address. Make no mistake. I have no illusions at all that I’m in the same category as authors Sister Helen Prejean, Alex Kotlowitz, Jim Wallis or Fr. Greg Boyle. But I AM in the same camp. My little book SWEET FREEDOM, stumblingly and simply written, tells a powerful story of how each of us can do our best to help someone! I’d love it if you could join us next Tuesday evening. We’ll make sure the link is available. You’ll get to enjoy the music of our concert pianist/board member Veena Kulkarni-Rankin. You’ll learn more about a committed Board of Directors, amazing volunteers, and underpaid and overworked staffers who assure Michigan prisoners that “they matter.” And, I hope to make some persuasive comments insisting that WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE SERVANTS. Please mark it on your calendar. Starting this project was no insignificant occasion in my life, and it will mean the world to me if you can be there with me on Tuesday. I’m also hoping to hear from you following the event. Just as our clients behind bars, you matter!

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