Kerry Kennedy

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Kerry Kennedy
Kerry Kennedy (crop).jpg
Kennedy in 2007
BornMary Kerry Kennedy
(1959-09-08) September 8, 1959 (age 54)
Boston, MA
EducationB.A., Brown University
J.D., Boston College Law School
Political party
Democratic
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)Andrew Cuomo
(m. 1990-2005)
Childrendaughters Cara, Mariah, Michaela.
ParentsRobert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel
 
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Kerry Kennedy
Kerry Kennedy (crop).jpg
Kennedy in 2007
BornMary Kerry Kennedy
(1959-09-08) September 8, 1959 (age 54)
Boston, MA
EducationB.A., Brown University
J.D., Boston College Law School
Political party
Democratic
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)Andrew Cuomo
(m. 1990-2005)
Childrendaughters Cara, Mariah, Michaela.
ParentsRobert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel

Mary Kerry Kennedy (born September 8, 1959) is an American human rights activist and writer. She is the seventh of the eleven children of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy. She was known as Kerry Kennedy Cuomo from 1991 until 2003.

Early life[edit]

Kennedy was born in Boston, MA. Three days after her birth, her father resigned as chief counsel of the Senate Rackets Committee.[1] After her father was shot but before he was killed, Kennedy and her siblings Mary and Michael tried to explain his hospitalization to their younger siblings.[2] She is a graduate of The Putney School and Brown University and received her J.D. from Boston College Law School.

She holds honorary doctorates of law from Le Moyne College and University of San Francisco Law School, and honorary doctorates of Human Letters from Bay Path College and the Albany College of Pharmacy.[3]

Activism[edit]

Since 1981, Kennedy has worked as a human rights activist, leading delegations into places such as El Salvador, Gaza, Haiti, Kenya, Northern Ireland, and South Korea[4] She was also involved in causes in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Sudan, and Pakistan.[4]

She established the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in 1988 and was the Executive Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial until 1995.[4] She is the Honorary President of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe, based in Florence (Italy). She is also the chair of the Amnesty International Leadership Council, and has been published in The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times.[4] She is a judge for the Reebok Human Rights Award.

Kennedy also travels the country giving speeches and presentations and calling on her audiences to stand up and fight against human rights violations.[5]

Being Catholic Now[edit]

Kennedy is the author of Being Catholic Now, Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning. The book includes essays from prominent Catholics, including Nancy Pelosi, Cokie Roberts, Cardinal McCarrick, Sister Joan Chittister, Tom Monaghan, Bill O'Reilly, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Doug Brinkley and others.

Human rights work[edit]

Kennedy's life has been devoted to the vindication of equal justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law.[3] Kennedy is the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.[3] She started working in the field of human rights in 1981 as an intern with Amnesty International, where she investigated abuses committed by U.S. immigration officials against refugees from El Salvador.[6]

For over thirty years, she has worked on diverse human rights issues such as children’s rights, child labor, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, and the environment. She has concentrated specifically on women’s rights, particularly honor killings, sexual slavery, domestic violence, workplace discrimination, and sexual assault. She has worked in over 60 countries and led hundreds of human rights delegations.[3]

Kennedy established RFK Center Partners for Human Rights in 1986 to ensure the protection of rights codified under the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. RFK Partners provides support to courageous human rights defenders around the world. The Center uncovers human rights abuses like torture, repression of free speech and child labor; urges Congress and the U.S. administration to highlight human rights in foreign policy; and supplies activists with the resources they need to advance their work. Kennedy also founded RFK Compass, which works on sustainable investing with leaders in the financial community. She started the RFK Training Institute in Florence, Italy, which offers courses of study to leading human rights defenders across the globe.[3]

Kennedy is the author of Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, which features interviews with human rights activists including Marian Wright Edelman, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, and more. This book has been translated into 6 languages, with more coming, and has been adapted into a play by Ariel Dorfman. It also is the foundation for the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power program - a multi-faceted global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders from around the world to educate students and others about human rights, and urge them to take action. The curriculum focus on issues range from slavery and environmental activism to religious self-determination and political participation [7]

Kennedy has appeared numerous times on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and PBS as well as on networks in countries around the world, and her commentaries and articles have been published in The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, L’Unita, The Los Angeles Times, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Página/12, TV Guide and the Yale Journal of International Law. As a special correspondent for the environmental magazine television program, “Network Earth”, she reported on human rights and the environment. She interviewed human rights leaders for Voice of America.

Kennedy is Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council. Nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, she serves on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace,[8] as well as Human Rights First, and Inter Press Service (Rome, Italy). She is a patron of the Bloody Sunday Trust (Northern Ireland) and serves on the Editorial Board of Advisors of the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review. She is on the Advisory Committee for the International Campaign for Tibet, the Committee on the Administration of Justice of Northern Ireland, the Global Youth Action Network, Studies without Borders and several other organizations. She serves on the leadership council of the Amnesty International Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women and on the Advisory Board of the Albert Schweitzer Institute and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s National Advisory Council.

Kennedy was named Woman of the Year 2001 by Save the Children, Humanitarian of the Year Award from the South Asian Media Awards Foundation, and the Prima Donna Award from Montalcino Vineyards. In 2008, she received the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal of Honor and the Thomas Moore Award from Boston College Law School. World Vision and International AIDS Trust gave her the 2009 Human Rights Award.[3]

She has received awards from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (for leadership in abolishing the death penalty), the American Jewish Congress of the Metropolitan Region, and the Institute for the Italian American experience three I’s award for outstanding efforts and achievements for human rights.[3]

Personal life[edit]

On June 9, 1990 in the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, DC,[9] she married Andrew Cuomo. She has three daughters: twins Cara Ethel Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Cuomo (born January 11, 1995), and Michaela Andrea Cuomo (born August 26, 1997). Kennedy and Cuomo divorced in 2005 during Cuomo's term as New York State Attorney General.

Drugged-driving charges[edit]

In July 2012, Kennedy was said to have collided into a tractor trailer. On the morning of July 13, 2012, Kennedy was found in her white Lexus. A police report said Kennedy had trouble speaking, was swaying and told an officer that she may have accidentally taken a sleeping pill earlier that day. In a court appearance on July 17, 2012, Kennedy said local hospital tests found no traces of drugs and that her doctor believed she had suffered a seizure. Kennedy pleaded not guilty to driving while impaired. Rocco Scuiletti, driver of the tractor trailer, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident by state police. A toxicology report filed on July 25, 2012, said zolpidem was found in a sample of her blood taken when Kennedy was arrested.[10] Kennedy said she did not remember anything after entering a highway to go to a gym and before she found herself at a traffic light with a police officer at her door.[11] The incident occurred just two months after the death of her brother Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s wife's Mary Kathleen Richardson by suicide on May 16, 2012. On January 23, 2014, a judge ruled that the drugged-driving case against Kennedy would move forward.[12] Kennedy's judge acknowledged that she was "not a typical criminal defendant. She has achieved a great deal and is dedicated to good works." Despite this, the judge said dismissal might lead the public to believe "that there are two justice systems: one for the rich and powerful, and one for everybody else."[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oppenheimer, p. 259.
  2. ^ Oppenheimer, p. 447.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g http://rfkcenter.org/kerry-kennedy-2
  4. ^ a b c d Kerry Kennedy Cuomo
  5. ^ Claire Abent (2008-03-20). "Women's rights still not perfect in America". The North Wind Online. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  6. ^ http://www.fcas.nova.edu/arts/distinguished_speakers_series/kerry_kennedy/index.cfm
  7. ^ http://curriculum.rfkcenter.org/pages/1?locale=en
  8. ^ "Kerry Kennedy - Member of the Board of Directors". United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kennedy-Cuomo Wedding Draws Celebrities, Sightseers", Los Angeles Times, June 10, 1990. Retrieved 2013-10-22.]
  10. ^ Allen, Jonathan (July 25, 2012). "Sleeping aid in Kerry Kennedy's blood after crash - report". Chicago Tribune. 
  11. ^ Kuo, Lily (July 17, 2012). "Kerry Kennedy says seizure, not drugs, caused driving accident". Chicago Tribune. 
  12. ^ "Judge Rules on Whether to Dismiss DWI Charge Against Kerry Kennedy". ABC News. January 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ Fitzgerald, Jim (January 23, 2014). "Kerry Kennedy to Skip Jury Selection for Drugged-Driving Trial, Wants Case Tossed". NBC New York. 

External links[edit]