The Burden of Privilege

As you reflect on your life thus far,what has someone said, written or expressed in some fashion that is especially meaningful to you? Why?


You can use your enormous privilege and opportunity to seek purely private pleasure and gain. But history will judge you, and ultimately, you will judge yourself, on the extent to which you have used your gifts to enlighten and enrich the lives of your neighbors.

Robert F. Kennedy spoke these words to a group of university students in 1966. The wisdom of these words has touched me more profoundly than anything else I have ever read, heard, or seen. When I first saw this quote, I did not pay much attention to it. The quotation was printed on the front of a brochure for a summer program called the Civic Leadership Institute (CLI). I stumbled upon it as I was searching for a productive way to spend my summer. When I read it for a second time, I saw that the statement was much more than a simple catchphrase. The quote on the pamphlet's cover influenced my decision to attend the course. Those three weeks turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life, which is why this quotation was - and still is - incredibly meaningful to me.

When I read this quote, I was struggling to accept the disparities between the different social echelons that exist in our own nation. It was impossible for me to accept the fact that...

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