In February, 1999, in the midst of a very hectic schedule, Mrs. Shriver nonetheless took time to send a hand written, 3 page letter of thanks for a special tribute to her on the 30th Anniversary of Special Olympics. As anyone knowing her might guess, her thanks were exceptionally specific and exceptionally gracious. But perhaps most characteristically, they closed with warm good wishes for me and my family - (a family she'd never met.) Ever since that letter arrived, it has hung on the wall above my desk - a reminder and a challenge - exemplifying the idea that only by actively rejecting prejudice and accepting responsibility can we truly embrace all of humanity as family. Fittingly, as anyone knowing her would agree, the tribute prompting her letter recognized Eunice Kennedy Shriver for what she has always been: "A Voice of Conscience."
(New York City)
Jeffrey Ernstoff is a creative director and music director/writer.