Stevie Wonder Becomes UN Messenger of Peace: a personal reflection
On this international day of Persons with Disabilities, Stevie Wonder was named to be a UN Messenger of Peace. So, let this be an unusual post celebrating this event, instead of tearing this event apart, I would like to share a couple of personal memories I have about Stevie.
Growing up in Hungary, back in the 1980's, when western music slowly started to enter the Eastern Block, you could hear people humming: "ay jes koh", later when I was fluent in English I found out that it is "I just called", with heavy Hungarian accent and with the lack of understanding. This was the first time I have heard about Stevie, and while I didn't know much about him, I thought he must be an outstanding guy, most people know about him.
The next time his name came up in my life when I heard that he gave a concert in Hungary and donated a bunch of white canes to blind kids. And since that day, when I have heard about Stevie, it was always something great he had done. I have associated his name to music just as much as to somebody who is always ready to jump to help those in need.
For a long time, I didn't even know that he was blind. Once I found it out, I was able to put many more things into perspective. I was able to see that he was a role model for many many blind kids. He was able to prove that with dedicated hard work, you can achieve anything. And when he started, it was even more difficult. After Stevie being blind is not an excuse, kids can't say "I can't do it because I'm blind", which is often an excuse to fool those who are ready to fall for it.
Almost every year I attend the CSUN conference in Los Angeles, where Stevie Wonder shows up and checks out the new technologies, and buys some tech toys. A couple of years ago while attending this conference, I got a call that Stevie will be hanging out at the pool. I ran there hoping to be able to meet him this time, and it was my lucky day. I was very honored that I was able to shake hands with him and got to thank him for being a role model for so many, and that I was able to express that I appreciated all his work.
Congratulations Stevie, and keep up the great work!