As a Media committee member, I was in command of the great task that was getting everyone who entered the Human Library to sign a photo release form. I was at the end of the sign-up line, and politely, one by one, the diverse flood of our books began to arrive. I had not known the books by face, so eagerly I began trying to guess some of their names before they got to me in the line. I greeted them all, having a rush with some, knowing that I had just met a person who had gone through all of that, and they had just acknowledge my existence. It was beautiful. Everyone from all different walks of life: round, tall, black, a woman, blind, deaf, Jewish, the list of diversity goes on. As the doors shut behind them, I knew that this would be a life-changing experience.
Later that morning, Sam and I managed the room during one of the Bestseller speeches. The book’s description was on a podium inside of a room adorned with exotic artwork, a small stage, a box of tissues sitting on a chair, and several rows of audience seating. It was quite vague, which made me even more enthralled to meet them. Words that flashed on the page, though, were “Racial Crime” and “Pipe bomb.” This had to be a great story. Don Logan walked into the room and introduced himself to Sam and me. He was an African American man, and even addressed himself to the audience as being such. At first the audience was uneasy about what he was saying, “Go ahead, who in here didn’t notice that I was black?” We burst out laughing. Through his whole story he made us laugh. I loved how loose he was while telling such a deep tale. He began by informing us that Scottsdale is the fifth whitest city in America. “It was pretty shocking when I became a Politician.” He then went into telling us about the package. “It was all taped up, and had a weird return address. One of the ladies in the office even jokingly said that it was probably a bomb.” How horribly right she was. Upon opening the box, a bomb detonated right in the middle of his office. “There was a loud ‘pop’ and all of a sudden, the window behind my desk shattered, my secretary screamed and my hand hurt really bad…” The only thing that kept Logan from death that day was opening the box upside down. It was crazy. When in the hospital, the news flashed his pictures. “It was weird seeing myself, and hearing people talk about me like I was dead.” He suffered several injuries, but none had been fatal. The bomb had been sent by two white supremacists, who were hurriedly taken to court. The final verdict was forty years in prison for the brother who had been the mastermind. When Don Logan was finished speaking, and we said our goodbyes, I felt a little more enlightened on the still-existing issue of racism.
The next speaker who entered our little best seller room was Dr. Alexander White. He is an 89-year-old holocaust survivor. His story began with explaining the military aspect of the war, and how his village had faired. The rest of his story is too horrific to repeat. I learned a lot from Dr. White. He had actually been saved on Schindler’s list!
By the end of the day, I walked away with a better feeling of myself, and others. Witnessing the human struggle, and knowing how many people care to help end hate astounded me.