Oct 28

The Land of Opportunity ... for ALL of us

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 10/28/2019 11:55AM | Quote of the Week | War on Poverty | Civil Rights

The Land of Opportunity ... for ALL of us

The Land of Opportunity ... for ALL of us

Our Quote of the Week links together two battles that were central to Sargent Shriver's work: one to achieve civil rights, and the other to end poverty for all Americans.

Our quote is from Sargent Shriver's March 1964 Address to the United Negro College Fund Symposium, an early speech from Sarge's leadership of the War on Poverty. Although the poverty programs (Community Action, Head Start, Upward Bound, Job Corps, VISTA, Legal Services, and Foster Grandparents) did not yet exist when Sargent Shriver spoke these words, the transcript shows us that he had a vision for what the programs could be and what they could achieve.

Note that in the speech, Sargent Shriver looks at poverty in the United States through the lens of race. Although he acknowledges that economic deprivation knows no racial boundaries, he also stresses that the country's history of racial violence and discrimination has made poverty more widespread among Black Americans. 

With his words, Sargent Shriver reminds us that the efforts to achieve equal opportunity for all must include an awareness of historical economic injustice and discrimination, and an ability to address these with our policies and our actions as leaders, citizens, and neighbors.

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