Three decades ago, Don Mullan saw a spark within an obscure story. In 1847, Choctaw Indians donated monies to the victims of the Famine in Ireland. They had just survived a similar holocaust. Don was director of (AFrI) Action from Ireland, and he made sure that the small story made the rounds; interviews, lectures and media coverage. The story grew. Today that small story, of one poor and dispossessed people reaching out to another, has traveled the world.
The story also speaks to a greater, more compassionate common humanity; our better angels. Because that’s what Don does. He illuminates our shared sense of self, so that all may see. His genius is to discern true spirit and understanding in common places so often overlooked, in order to bring people together in common cause and within a common humanity. We have always been better for it.
Don’s rare gift of seeing and then unleasing the brightest potential in all of us has blossomed into government social justice investigations, the Frederick Douglass Initiative, the Christmas Truce Project, hope and reconciliation in Ireland, film and television documentaries, acclaimed literature, and ongoing inspiration for thousands worldwide, through ways almost too numerous to mention. He was the first to travel to the Choctaw Nation to thank my people for their 1847 gift to Famine Ireland. And Don’s influence is the reason I’m now living in Ireland.
Hope Initiatives International is the inevitable result of Don’s lifelong service to others, a full and beautiful devotion to true humanitarian and social justice causes. For we need hope now, more than ever in a world so often given over to darkness. Don is a sincere and gifted light bringer, and I can’t wait to see the glow; the many shining, lasting differences that Hope Initiatiatives International will accomplish.