Former President Barack Obama was graced with another award since his departure from the White House, this time the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.
For the former president, the notion of winning an award about hope resonated with him.
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve been on this hope kick for a while now,” he said in his acceptance speech. “Even ran a couple of campaigns on it.”
— Bruce Broussard (@BruceDBroussard) December 13, 2018
Obama addressed multiple issues in his acceptance speech but particularly spoke of gun violence and the progress that has been made by anti-gun violence activists.
He compared modern shootings to the political assassinations of Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.
“The horror of gun violence continues to plague our nation, a pain that many in this room know too well,” he said. “The bullets that took Bobby, JFK, and Dr. King are just like the bullets that took Trayvon, and those school children in Newtown, and those police officers in Dallas, and those concertgoers in Vegas, and those congregants in Thousand Oaks.”
But he highlighted the progress that has been made by people affected by gun violence who turned around to advocate. He spoke about how former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) recovered after what could’ve been a deadly gunshot wound. He addressed Rep.-elect Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), who ran her campaign in November on the promise of advocating for gun control legislation
“Six years ago, Lucy McBath’s son was shot and killed in the parking lot of a gas station because the kids in the car were playing music too loud, apparently. She turned her grief into hope and her hope into a seat in the next Congress, running unabashedly against the gun lobby in the great state of Georgia.”
Obama concluded by addressing the students who organized March for Our Lives in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Watch the video below:
@BarackObama giving an acceptance speech tonight at the @RFKHumanRights gala and connecting the political assassinations of the ‘60s to present gun violence and mass shootings, including specifically pointing out #TrayvonMartin pic.twitter.com/06dqa1RgFy
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) December 13, 2018
Obama said that Kennedy was an inspiration and an example to him. Since the former senator’s passing, the former president remarked that progress has ultimately been made.
“The story of the last 50 years is the story of a more just and peaceful world,” Obama said. “I have seen it. I have lived it. You have, too.