Three Dot Dash® was inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek.
Many people know about Mattie from his six New York Times best selling "Heartsongs" poetry books expressing universal messages of hope and peace. They may have seen one of his many inspiring interviews on Oprah or Larry King Live, or be familiar with his work as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as he suffered from Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
The We Are Family Foundation® (WAFF) first learned of then 11-year-old Mattie in 2002 and was so inspired by his story, message and spirit that he was chosen as the first We Are Family Peacemaker honoree. WAFF and Mattie shared visions of a global family and the theory that peace is possible. However, Mattie believed that in order to promote peace, one must be peaceful inside. And, in order for one to be peaceful inside, one must have his/her basic human needs met: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment.
Mattie's writings of hope and peace were carried internationally with the help of his mentors and public media figures including President Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Maya Angelou and Larry King.
Mattie died in 2004. His last book, entitled Just Peace: A Message of Hope, written with Jimmy Carter, was published after his death and became WAFF's inspiration for Three Dot Dash. In his short 13 years, Mattie's visionary leadership affected millions worldwide and inspired a global "peace buzz" that will continue with Three Dot Dash.
Mattie was recently named by USA TODAY as one of 25 people in the last 25 years "who moved us" and who has had an indelible impact on the world.
Even though the future seems far away,
It is actually beginning right now.
And while we are living in the present,
We must celebrate life everyday.
Knowing that we are becoming history
With every word, every action, every moment.
Because we, today, are the history of tomorrow.
- Mattie J.T. Stepanek, 10 years old, 2000
Published in USA TODAY, May 29, 2007