NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is proud to announce poet Amanda Gorman as its latest Ripple of Hope Award laureate for 2021. She joins a remarkable line-up of honorees: political leader, entrepreneur, and author, Stacey Abrams; co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital, José E. Feliciano; managing director of Insight Partners, Deven Parekh; and chairman and CEO of Verizon, Hans Vestberg.
This year’s Ripple of Hope Award winners, united by their uncompromising integrity and resilience in striving for an inclusive America, have each championed the causes and concerns of the underrepresented and marginalized. Their tireless efforts in service of the public good—from within global companies to the national political stage—reflect Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, and the power of individual action to establish meaningful reform.
All five laureates will be honored at a hybrid ceremony on Thursday, December 9, featuring keynote speaker Vice President Kamala Harris. As the first woman and first woman of color to serve as vice president, Harris has broken barriers and served as a leading voice on the impact of race on health care, access to voting, and the criminal legal system.
“We’re honored that Vice President Harris and Amanda Gorman will join Stacey, Hans, José, and Deven in our Ripple of Hope Award ceremony for 2021,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Their leadership and poise have inspired countless people, especially young women of color, to rise up and make their voices heard and we are thrilled to recognize such extraordinary changemakers. We look forward to celebrating our five honorees and hearing the Vice President’s remarks.”
Since 1968, the Ripple of Hope Award has celebrated exemplary leaders across business, government, advocacy, and entertainment who have demonstrated a commitment to social progress and advancing human rights.
Previous winners of the Ripple of Hope Award include Barack Obama, Tim Cook, Dolores Huerta, Desmond Tutu, Colin Kaepernick, Hillary Clinton, John Lewis, Bono, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Nancy Pelosi, Robert F. Smith, Wyclef Jean, and Joe Biden.
Learn more about RFK Human Rights and its annual Ripple of Hope Award at RFKHumanRights.org/awards.
2021 RFK Ripple of Hope Award Laureates
Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams)
Political Leader, Entrepreneur, and Author
Stacey Abrams is a political leader, voting rights activist, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author. After serving for 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as minority leader, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, winning more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. Dedicated to civic engagement, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. She founded Fair Fight Action to ensure every American has a voice in our election system, Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the 2020 Census, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South. Abrams is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the boards of the LBJ Foundation, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, the Center for American Progress, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation.
Amanda Gorman (@TheAmandaGorman)
Amanda Gorman is an award-winning writer and activist. She is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history and, in 2017, was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word. Her work, including “The Hill We Climb,” recited at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, focuses largely on themes of hope, unity, and healing in the face of oppression. Gorman is the founder of One Pen One Page, an organization that provides platforms for student storytellers to change the world. She is also the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States. Gorman is a recipient of an OZY Genius Award and has previously served as a youth delegate to the United Nations.
José E. Feliciano (#JoseEFeliciano)
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Clearlake Capital Group
José E. Feliciano is co-founder and managing partner of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., a leading private investment firm he co-founded in 2006. In addition to his investing responsibilities, Feliciano is responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm. In 2014, he and his wife, Kwanza Jones, co-founded the SUPERCHARGED Initiative, a philanthropic grantmaking and impact investment organization that invests in both nonprofits and for-profit ventures that are compatible with its goal to make a lasting impact across four key priorities: education, entrepreneurship, equal opportunity, and empowerment. In addition, Feliciano serves on the boards of directors of the Robert Toigo Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the career advancement and increased leadership of underrepresented talent, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
Deven Parekh (@djparekh)
Managing Director, Insight Partners
Deven Parekh is a managing director at Insight Partners. Since joining the firm in 2000, he has been a vocal advocate for opportunity and inclusion, initiating efforts to promote women and minority leaders across Insight’s internal team, portfolio, and the wider software and investment ecosystems as a whole. Parekh is a member of the board of directors for several institutions, including the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and NYU Langone. He is also chairman emeritus of the board of Publicolor, a nonprofit organization focused on New York City public schools. In 2006, Parekh was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, which seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders.
Hans Vestberg (@hansvestberg)
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verizon
Hans Vestberg is chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications. During his tenure, Verizon has prioritized its diversity and inclusion initiatives, including a $10 million pledge to support organizations dedicated to racial equity and social justice. Before joining Verizon in April 2017, Vestberg served for six years as president and CEO of Ericsson, a multinational telecommunications company that provides 35 percent of the world’s 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile network infrastructures. Vestberg is a founding member of the International Telecommunications Union Broadband Commission for Digital Development, where he led climate change and digital health initiatives. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network and serves on the board of the UN Foundation and the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative. He is a founding chairman of the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance, a global movement to prioritize digital inclusion as foundational to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; a member of the Leadership Council of the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network; and a member of the boards of the UN Foundation, the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, and BlackRock.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
We are a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues—championing changemakers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice.
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