Teaching Students About Kerry Kennedy
Kerry Kennedy has long been an influential figure in the realm of human rights, following in the footsteps of her father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and her uncle, President John F. Kennedy. As such, teaching students about her life and work creates an appreciation for the vital importance of protecting human rights and cultivating a sense of civic duty in today’s youth.
Early Life and Family Legacy
Born in 1959 as the seventh child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy, Kerry grew up in a household that valued public service. The loss of her father when she was just nine years old solidified a deep commitment to social justice and human rights causes. Her family history should be emphasized to help students understand how she was empowered by her own upbringing and the struggle faced by her loved ones.
Education and Career
Kerry Kennedy attended Brown University, where she majored in Latin American studies before obtaining a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Boston College Law School. She served as Executive Director of the RFK Center for Human Rights from 1988 to 1995. Under her leadership, the organization expanded their reach to help support human rights activists around the world.
Notable Work and Achievements
Teaching about Kerry’s work should focus on highlights such as:
1. Speak Truth to Power: This unique human rights education program for schools was initiated by Kerry herself. It leverages storytelling through multiple means like theater, photography exhibits, literature, etc., to spread awareness about global human rights defenders resolutely working against injustice.
2. Robert F. Kennedy Book Award: Established by Kerry in 1980, this award honors authors who distinctly capture her father’s vision of social justice in their work.
3. Human Rights Advocacy: Kerry has tirelessly campaigned on behalf of marginalized individuals globally, including rights of indigenous people, environmental protection, and standing against the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Teaching Methods and Resources
To engage students in the study of Kerry Kennedy’s work, teachers may leverage multimedia resources and interactive activities:
1. Show videos and interviews highlighting her work in schools to provide real-life examples of her advocacy in action.
2. Assign group research projects, where students can present to their peers about different human rights issues tackled by Kerry.
3. Leverage lesson plans from the Speak Truth to Power program to engage students in human rights education.
By exposing students to the life and work of Kerry Kennedy, we instill within them an appreciation for human rights and empower them to become responsible global citizens. Weaving her story into the curriculum creates a foundation for future leaders who remain committed to social justice and positive change.