Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Kennedy Impact Was Far Reaching

It's one thing to talk the talk--but how many people actually walk the walk of their talk? We all know Senator Ted Kennedy did a lot of talking during his 40 plus years in politics. We also know he followed up that talk with action.

During his years in the United States Senate, Kennedy fought many battles for the rights of others.

In 1964, for example, he gave the first speech to the Senate urging passage of the Civil Rights Act and outlawing segregation in public accommodations. He also supported the Economic Opportunity Act, which established programs like Head Start and the Job Corps.

Ten years later, Kennedy introduced comprehensive legislation for national health insurance. Then in 1975, he sponsored the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which later became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, requiring a free and appropriate public education for children with disabilities in every state.

In 1979, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he encouraged selection of women and minorities in judicial nominations.

Nearly 20 years later, his home state of Massachusetts, appointed it's first African-American to the State Supreme Court. Judge Roderick Ireland became the first African-American to sit on this bench in its over three hundred year history. That's one appointment I am personally giving Senator Kennedy credit for.

Judge Ireland also happens to be my daughter's godfather.


Eileen Williams said...

I agree with you, Beverly. This remarkable man accomplished many things over his lifetime. Although, like the rest of us he was flawed, he followed his call to do what is right and make the lives of all citizens better. Having a personal connection with him, through your daughter's godfather, is truly an honor!

Beverly said...

You're right Eileen--he did have his flaws--as we all do. My mother used to say, "He who is without sin--let him cast the first stone" Sadly, some folks are throwing stones when they have a whole lot of mess going on in their own lives.

rosie said...

He, Ted Kennedy lived a life of purpose. He made a difference in the lives of so many. To know that he touched your life in such a personal way is an indication of his impact. Thanks for sharing Bev

Debra Stokes said...

Like Rosie said, Ted Kennedy lived a life of purpose. There are few people who truly devote their lives to public service. It is sometimes a very thankless job, but thank God for those who accept the call. How wonderful that you have that personal connection to Senator Kennedy. Make sure that Jarod keeps that relationship growing.

Susan Adcox said...

Ted Kennedy was indeed a remarkable man. After some of the tragedy in his life, and after his involvement in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, it would have been easy for him to have left politics and lived the rest of his life in relative privacy. But he chose to keep on working for the things he believed in, and he ended up earning the admiration of some of his worst critics.