This morning, I’m thinking back to the speech Robert Kennedy delivered in Indianapolis on 4 April 1968, He was there for a political rally when he learned that Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated in Memphis, TN. He knew violence was breaking out across the country and he knew that as a leader, particularly as the leader this predominantly African American crowd had come to see, that it was incumbent upon him to deliver the tragic news of King’s death as well as to dissuade the crowd from violence. He knew King, had spoken and worked with him. I can’t imagine his own person feelings that night. Fear? Doubt? Anger? Yet, he knew and accepted the duties and responsibilities that fell upon him as a leader.
“We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, but we — and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.”
Librarians, teachers, parents, writers, publishers and illustrators are all our children’s leaders. We all have to keep getting past our own own doubts and fears for our children. Their lives depend on it.
Full text and video of Kennedy’s speech