For more than four decades, Kerry Kennedy has devoted her life to human rights activism, leading delegations into places such as Haiti, Kenya, South Korea, and Gaza. Kerry, the seventh of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy’s eleven children, started working in the field of human rights in 1981 as an intern with Amnesty International. In this role, she investigated abuses committed by U.S. immigration officials against refugees from the civil war in El Salvador. In 1988, she began serving as President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a non-profit human rights advocacy organization. She is also a prolific author and editor. She has written columns, articles, and commentaries for many of the country's top publications. Furthermore, after a lifetime devoted to equal justice for all, it is no surprise that she has accumulated many honors and distinctions. In addition to holding honorary doctorates from several universities, she was awarded “Woman of the Year 2001” by Save the Children, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the South Asian Media Awards Foundation, and the Prima Donna Award from Montalcino Vineyards, among numerous others.

In 1977, she graduated from boarding school and began her freshman year at Brown University. During her undergraduate years, she dated a fellow Brown student and they had plans to marry. Sadly, however, according to a Vanity Fair article her fiancé died of a heart attack during an innocent snowball fight on the Washington Mall. In 1981, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Brown and later attended Boston College for law school.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

In 2015, she returned to her Brown University roots in order to deliver some of her own particular brand of social justice. Her alma mater was hosting an event to raise awareness of environmental issues. Organized by the student environmental group emPOWER, the event combined a live concert, numerous professional speakers, and a conference to deliver a social justice message that people need to do something about the environment. As this was right in her wheelhouse, she was selected to deliver the event’s keynote address, which included her emphatic statement that, "There is a direct correlation between democracy and human rights and the environment."