Dr. Fauci, Kaepernick to Receive Award for “Commitment to Social Change”

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New York, NY Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights today announced its 2020 Ripple of Hope Award laureates: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America; Colin Kaepernick, human rights activist, co-founder of Know Your Rights Camp, and Super Bowl quarterback; Dan Schulman, president and chief executive officer of PayPal; and Dan Springer, chief executive officer of DocuSign.

The annual Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award celebrates outstanding leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to social change, recognizing individuals across government, business, advocacy, and entertainment who have utilized their platform for the public good. At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress.

“Our country is yearning for leadership, for moral fortitude, for common decency and kindness, and this year’s Ripple of Hope laureates give us great hope for the future,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Their work for equal justice touches every corner of society, sometimes at great personal cost. We are deeply honored to celebrate these changemakers, who have set forth countless ripples of hope at a time when our world is in such need of inspiration.”


Dr. Anthony Fauci was appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984. He oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria, emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika, and the current outbreak of COVID-19. Dr. Fauci has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues and was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008. 

Colin Kaepernick is a professional athlete and human rights activist, known for protesting police violence and racialized systemic oppression by taking a knee rather than standing during the playing of the national anthem while he was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2016 he co-founded the Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC), an organization to advance the liberation of Black and Brown communities. KYRC established the COVID-19 Relief Fund in March 2020 and its nationwide Legal Defense Initiative in May 2020, and recently gave over $1.75 million to grassroots organizations fighting for justice. He has been named GQ magazine’s Citizen of the Year, and has received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, the ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, the Puffin/Nation Institute’s Prize for Creative Citizenship, and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award, which celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage. 

“In 2017, I was in the audience honoring Mr. Harry Belafonte as he accepted the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. I am humbled to follow the footsteps of individuals like Mr. B and to be in the company of all the other laureates. Thank you for this prestigious award,” said Colin Kaepernick, co-founder of Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign for youth advancing the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities.

Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Barack Obama, Tim Cook, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Robert F. Smith, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Belafonte, John Lewis, Hillary Clinton, Bono, and Joe Biden.