Oct 16

Marking A War on Poverty Anniversary

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 10/16/2017 12:51PM | Quote of the Week | War on Poverty | On This Day

Marking a War on Poverty Anniversary

Marking a War on Poverty Anniversary

On October 16, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson swore in Sargent Shriver as the first Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). In his address that day, President Johnson noted that the goal of the War on Poverty--the motivation for the creation of the OEO--was "to increase opportunity for all Americans."

Since that day, and for the rest of his life, Sargent Shriver worked diligently to create successful programs that could enable people to lift themselves out of poverty, and to raise awareness of the many issues that the poor face. Many of these programs, including Head Start, Community Action, and Volunteers in Service to American (VISTA), still exist today. Even after his tenure as Director of the OEO ended in 1968, Sarge continued to advocate for programs that could empower the economically disadvantaged. He testified before Congress several times, and gave countless speeches about the importance of eradicating poverty. The speech from which we've taken our Quote of the Week, Address to the Yale Law School Association, is just one of those speeches. In it, Sarge points out, as he often did, that there is a strong link between fighting poverty and upholding justice, and that it was crucial for those in the legal profession to engage in the effort to eradicate poverty.

Let's remember Sarge's simple message: that when we live in comfort and privilege, we tend to forget the human struggles that the poor face every day. And let's work in our communities and press our elected representatives to alleviate those struggles.

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