Feb 08

Turning to Love

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 02/08/2021 11:48AM | Quote of the Week | Service | Citizenship


Our Quote of the Week asks us to consider love as a power. As we approach Valentine's Day 2021, let us move beyond the superficial trappings of love to establish a deeper connection with those around us, by showing empathy and serving our communities.

In his electric and free-wheeling 1967 Address at the University of California, Sargent Shriver quoted sources as diverse as Tolstoy, Ghandi, and Sonny and Cher. He recounted stories from his time leading the Peace Corps and building the programs of the War on Poverty. He also made specific recruiting appeals for some of the programs of the War on Poverty, including Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA, now known as Americorps VISTA) and Head Start.

Drawing from his personal experiences and from world events, Sargent Shriver admitted that there were many examples of poverty, injustice, inequality, and violence occurring at home and abroad. His descriptions are rooted in his present moment and yet sound painfully familiar in 2021, as we enter another year of the COVID-19 crisis and continue to struggle with the unrest caused by systemic racism, economic distress, and political upheaval.

The consummate servant leader, Sargent Shriver was deeply motivated by love. His efforts in civil and human rights, peacebuilding, and poverty were rooted in the idea that all human beings are worthy of empathy and respect. But Shriver was also tough, tenacious, and tireless in his work. By studying his work and his approach, it's easy to see how love can be wielded with strength, and how it can effect powerful change.

We are fortunate to have the audio recording of Sargent Shriver delivering this address live in Berkeley in 1967. We encourage you to take some time to hear him saying these powerful words yourself.

This Valentine's Day, let us envision a world in which we show love for humanity through empathy and service--and let us commit to creating that world, together.

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