Kerry Kennedy, who created the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, wrote the book Speak Truth to Power, and has campaigned against the death penalty, says, "We have these big tails that we try not to let wag the dog. But they can be put to good use." When King approached Kennedy about joining Gen II, she says, "I immediately signed up."
Christine Chavez, on the other hand, thought somebody was playing a joke when King introduced himself on the phone. Chavez is the granddaughter of the late farm laborer, activist, and cofounder of the United Farm Workers of America, Cesar Chavez. "When my grandfather was in jail in the '70s, Coretta Scott King came out and visited with him and the farmworkers. And although he never met Dr. King, they communicated by telegram." The family synergies don' stop there, however. "Kerry Kennedy's father put farmworkers on the map by doing a Senate hearing about how they were being treated and by traveling to Delano when my grandfather was on a hunger strike." After working for the United Farm Workers union for years, Chavez is currently the district director for a senator in the California state legislature and is that office's liaison to the labor movement.
Nontombi Naomi Tutu is the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who stood strong against apartheid in his native South Africa and whose spiritual leadership paved the way for the transition to democracy. She is the founder and chairperson of the Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief in Southern Africa and focuses on the rights of young women.
Justin Trudeau is the son of the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, whose legacy includes the preservation of national unity and the embedding of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in his country's constitution. He was the first world leader to meet with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their peace tour. Justin is on the board of Canada's national youth service program and will be running for a parliamentary seat in the next federal election.
As the five peacemakers meet and greet in the photo studio, there's a palpable buzz—the same kind of energy that charged the group's inaugural meeting in London in July, when they started hammering out an agenda and came up with their mission statement, the Declaration of Interdependence. "Most of us didn' know one another before London, but the energy and warmth almost right away was just amazing," says Tutu. "We examined. We debated. We were saying to each other, 'Oh my goodness, I'm so glad to meet you, because your grandfather was one of my greatest heroes.' That connection helped us."
We Hear You!