Robert F. Kennedy Jr. helps honor environmentalists
for their work
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave an impassioned speech about the importance of protecting the environment and helped the law school honor three Seattle area environmentalists at the annual Strawberries & Champagne Reception honoring the Women of the Year at the law school in April.
“As a Jesuit Law school that stands in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed we are ever aware that issues of environmental justice fall most harshly on communities of color, on poor communities,” Dean Kellye Testy said at the celebration that drew hundreds to Sullivan Hall. “It is the job of each and all of us to work for environmental justice.”
Kennedy, a staunch defender of the environment who was named one of Time magazine’s Heroes for the Planet, said protecting the environment is good for the economy and the community.
“We don’t just project the fish and the birds,” he said.
“We do it for our own sake.”
Kennedy said protecting the air and water is crucial to the economy and health of future generations.
He said corporations don’t have to decide between profits and sound environmental policy and said President Bush has harmed rather than protected the environment through his policies and appointments to key positions.
“In 100 percent of the situations, good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy,” he said.
Following his keynote, the Women’s Law Caucus presented its Women of the Year awards to Patti Goldman, managing attorney for the Northwest Office of Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the environment, and Martha Kongsgaard, president of the Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation, a private foundation that supports programs in environmental protection, human rights, civic development, and arts and humanities. Her husband, Peter Goldman, shared the award. Both are 1984 graduates of Seattle University School of Law who met as first-year students.
Both women encouraged students and others in the audience to find a job that reflects their passion and their values.
“Be true to yourself and find the career that fits who you are,” Patti Goldman said.
Kongsgaard shared the award with her husband and recognized that it takes many committed people to make a change.
“We live in a really wonderful and hopeful new world,” Kongsgaard said.
Dean Testy also recognized Ellen Conedera Dial, president of the Washington State Bar Association.