The Ripple of Hope Gala, hosted by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, was a truly inspirational evening. The event brought together individuals who have had an incredible impact on the world in which each works. Each year, members of the Health eVillages team are invited to attend bear witness to the honored individuals receive the recognition they so earnestly deserve.

The four honorees of this year’s Ripple of Hope Gala: top left: Roger Altman; top right: Marianna Vardinoyannis; bottom left: Tim Cook; bottom right; Rep. John Lewis
The four honorees of this year’s Ripple of Hope Gala: top left: Roger Altman; top right: Marianna Vardinoyannis; bottom left: Tim Cook; bottom right; Rep. John Lewis

This year, there was a spotlight on work taking place right here in the United States—and the challenges our own country is facing. One of the four honorees was the Honorable John Lewis. For those unfamiliar with this man, John Lewis is a member of the United States House of Representatives (D-Georgia, 5th). He has devoted his life to human rights in the US Representative Lewis was a Freedom Rider. He even helped organize and speak at the famous March on Washington, standing alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to many other acts and events that have resulted from his adherence to his nonviolence philosophy, he has helped form the great United States we know today.

When Representative Lewis took the stage during the Ripple of Hope Gala, the room was transformed. His presence united an entire room of individual leaders, simply by stepping to the microphone.

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John Lewis, along with the other honorees at the Ripple of Hope Gala, emphatically quoted the Robert F. Kennedy’s speech given to announce the assassination of Dr. King—reminding all of us of what is most important during these times:

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness—but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country…
– Robert F. Kennedy; 4 April 1968, Indianapolis, IN

These sentiments are exactly what we need to fuel us as we move forward. It is through love and wisdom and compassion that we can truly make a difference in our world. It is these things that are at the core of our work with our partners in Africa, India, Haiti, and at home in the United States. There is much suffering in this world across race, gender, social class, and beyond. With love, wisdom, and compassion, we can address this suffering—and change the world that we live in.

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