Social Justice Hero of the Week: President John F Kennedy
In the last few weeks our country has seen the national conventions for both major political parties, so it seems only fitting that this week focuses on one of our past Commander in Chiefs. While John F Kennedy’s presidency was filled with radical ideas, his political ideals questioned, and famous failures, he also advocated for civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans. Many of his social programs dealt with calling the American public to action, stating that we don’t have an option to help and create equality, but rather an obligation.
“Our privileges can be no greater than our obligations. The protection of our rights can endure no longer than the performance of our responsibilities.”
JFK’s domestic policy saw integration of races, going so far as appointing the first black members of a presidential cabinet, as well as devoting more land and resources to try and promote Native American relations. He advocated for economic equality and the eradication of poverty. His foreign policy, while tainted with the era of communism and WWII, included the development of the Peace Corps, and overthrowing communist regimes to free the people of countries such as Cuba.
While we don’t all hold the power that the president of the United States does, (nor will we ever really have close to that much power), we can still promote so much change. JFK’s idea that we need to let go of our privilege and set ways is a simple one. It should be the basis for us to claim responsibility in order to protect the rights of all human beings in all societies and in all ways.