This weekend we were in Detroit for a surprise 40th birthday party for my brother-in-law Dale, an engineer at Ford. I’d share pictures, but there weren’t any because we left the camera in the car and parked it three blocks away so it wouldn’t be seen and the surprise wouldn’t be spoiled.
We had a few hours to kill before the party, so we went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. I hadn’t been there in at least 15 years, and our kids were very excited about seeing Rosa Parks’ bus and the chair in which Lincoln was assassinated. Both are part of a new permanent exhibit at the Ford, titled With Liberty and Justice for All. You can take a video tour at the Ford’s Web site.
You can sit in the actual seat where Mrs. Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and hear her recount that small but signiciant act that started the Civil Rights movement. The exhibit covers the independence movement leading to the Revolutionary War, the antislavery movement and Civil War, the Women’s Suffrage Movement and finally the Civil Rights movement. Since our kids had been studying this throughout January and the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and during February as part of Black History Month, this was especially moving to them as it helped history come alive.
The prevailing message was one of tolerance and acceptance of differences of all kinds.
The party was a surprise and almost 100 people packed into a house to celebrate. They had a very cool slot racing table set up by Motor City Racing and a tournament. During the evening the winners of 24 qualifying heats went into the tournament (I won my heat by more than three laps). I made it into the semifinals and was one of two women in the finals and wound up third overall. The birthday boy won (and no, we didn’t let him win as we’re all pretty competitive and wouldn’t let anyone win anything without a fight!)
Is there a picture? No, we left the camera in the car, parked three blocks away….
But I did see a little tolerance movement take place during these festivities. An adult went up to my daughter during one of the heats and took the slot car control out of her hand, suggesting she go after him. As I stepped forward to tell the guy to wait his turn, as my daughter had patiently waited her turn, my nine-year-old niece pushed past me and went after him herself. She informed him that cutting in line isn’t allowed, that it was rude, and that he couldn’t push other kids around.
Here at the Opportunity Zone we’ve asked all who come here to learn and comment about our business to deal with others in a spirit of civil discourse — with respect for all. On a very basic level it’s a principle of tolerance, allowing for the free expression of differing ideas. It’s the kind of idea that wars have been fought over and lives have been lost to protect. And that’s why it’s so important to allow.