April 26, 2001
5/21 Chancellor's Forum to Feature Former RFK Aide/AuthorPeter Edelman, a leading advocate for the rights of the indigent, will discuss ideas explored in his new book, Searching for America’s Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, as the keynote speaker of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Chancellor’s Forum on Monday, May 21, at noon at the Bar Association’s headquarters. Nearly 33 years after the slaying of his boss, Robert F. Kennedy, Edelman is still fighting for the causes that they championed together in the 60s.
Edelman earned respect in the political arena working closely with RFK as a legislative assistant for his Senate campaign in 1964 and as issues director for his presidential campaign in 1968. But, it was not until he joined the Clinton administration as an expert on welfare policy and children that he was catapulted into the political spotlight. In 1996, President Clinton signed a new welfare bill which Edelman felt ended a 60-year federal commitment to the poor. Clinton used the words of RFK as justification for the bill: "Work is the meaning of what this country is all about. We need it as individuals. We need to sense it in our fellow citizens. And we need it as a society and as a people."
Edelman resigned, finding the bill to be deeply harmful to America’s poor. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post gave front-page coverage to his resignation.
In his book, Edelman talks about his passion for justice and ending inequality. His theory is based on a society which he feels has largely given up its vision of social and economic justice -- increasing the population of the poor and near-poor every day.
He will share this theory and his vast experiences with the issues and the people he has encountered when he addressed the Chancellor’s Forum on May 21 at noon at the Bar Association’s headquarters. For more information, call 215-238-6300. Or visit the Bar Association’s Web site at www.philadelphiabar.org .