Mon Jul 02 11:28:31 EDT 2018 Mon Jul 02 11:28:31 EDT 2018

Recovering "the American Strategy"

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | Mon Jul 02 11:28:31 EDT 2018 | Quote of the Week | Justice

Recovering "the American Strategy"

Recovering "the American Strategy"

As Independence Day approaches, our Quote of the Week reminds us what the holiday was meant to mark: the founding of a nation that promises equal access to justice and opportunity for all. Although we have struggled throughout our history to maintain that promise, we have also made great progress in the past 242 years. In times of uncertainty and conflict, we must not forget that progress or abandon our pursuit of justice. We must work to protect our most vulnerable: the poor, people of color, children, immigrants, and anyone who is prone to discrimination. We must continue to strive for the day when we uphold the "unalienable rights" of all human beings as outlined in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sargent Shriver spoke these words in Montgomery, Alabama on April 28, 1973, while the US was gripped by the Watergate investigation. It was a period of instability and uncertainty for the country. In addition to the growing mistrust in our political leaders and a democratic crisis, the backlash to the civil rights gains of the 1960s and the aftermath of the Vietnam war threatened to break the country apart. Sargent Shriver encouraged his audience to pursue what he called "the American strategy": justice and equality in the courts but also "in the schools, on the streets and farms, and in the neighborhoods of this nation." This is a strategy Sarge adopted throughout his career: to create stability by ensuring that all of us, particularly our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, could have the opportunity to live a healthy, prosperous life on our own terms. It is a strategy that can still be seen in the institutions that uphold Sargent Shriver's legacy today: the agencies of Head Start, Community Action, VISTA, and organizations such as the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Rooted in Sargent Shriver's work on the War on Poverty and poverty law, these institutions continue to provide access to justice and opportunity to underserved communities. And they continue to provide examples that we can follow in our own pursuit of justice and opportunity for all.

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