Kerry Kennedy walked up to the front of the classroom and started off by asking our students a big question, “What are Human Rights?”
At first our students were shy, which is understandable. Kerry Kennedy is an amazing human rights activist who has worked in over 60 countries and led hundreds of delegations exposing injustices and educating audiences around the world. She is the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, activist and a bestselling author. The RFK Center strives to fulfill Robert F. Kennedy’s vision of a just and peaceful world by partnering with human rights leaders, teaching social justice and advancing corporate responsibility. Kerry Kennedy’s life is truly a testament to the promotion and protection human rights. We were shy too!
Then Academy for Peace and Justice 11th grader, Peterson Plaisir, stood up
and answered Kerry Kennedy’s question with ” Human rights are not only a code to live by and an aspiration to strive for”, and effectively started a conversation that blew us all away.
The mood that moved through the room was electric. Every student had their hands raised or were scribbling down notes , listing their personal human rights heroes, their dreams, and their questions for Kerry Kennedy such as “What hardships in your life have you had to overcome and how have they inspired you to continue your work?” Kerry and our students connected when she shared her personal story of how tragic losses in her family motivated her from the time she was small to expose injustice, right wrong and teach change.
Then together Father Rick Frechette, Kerry Kennedy started a human rain storm. She divided the students into sections asking them to snap, clap, slap their thighs and stomp their feet sending prayers and rain to those suffering from the terrible drought in South Sudan.
Thank you to Kerry Kennedy, The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Father Rick Frechette, The St. Luke Foundation, and Madeleine Stowe for such a moving experience. It was an inspiring visit for all our students at the Academy for Peace and Justice and Kerry herself.