Colin Kaepernick and Anthony Fauci are officially “modern-day human rights defenders,” according to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization. The group announced Monday that the two men would be among the five figures chosen to receive its Ripple of Hope Award, which “celebrates outstanding leaders” who have “utilized their platform for the public good.”
Our 2020 Ripple of Hope laureates are leading the way on social change during extraordinarily challenging times. We’re honored to celebrate Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of @NIAIDNews, @DoloresHuerta, @Kaepernick7, @Dan_Schulman of @PayPal, & @DanDSpringer of @Docusign. #RFKAwards pic.twitter.com/RiCrd07thv— RFK Human Rights (@RFKHumanRights) July 27, 2020
“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.”
The organization hailed Kaepernick as having “sacrificed his dream of playing professional football to speak truth to power,” while praising Fauci for his “insight and grace” and calling him “our trusted north star” in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the face of extreme opposition, @Kaepernick7 sacrificed his dream of playing professional football to speak truth to power. He continues his essential work with our partners at @yourrightscamp. Together, we’ve committed $1 million to our Funds for Freedom efforts. pic.twitter.com/dpvRm332BY— RFK Human Rights (@RFKHumanRights) July 27, 2020
As our world continues to confront #COVID19, Dr. Anthony Fauci leads the country’s response with insight and grace. The U.S.’ top infectious disease expert, and director of @NIAIDNews, Fauci is our trusted north star, guiding the nation through its greatest public health crisis. pic.twitter.com/Dv3K4ujqoG— RFK Human Rights (@RFKHumanRights) July 27, 2020
The Ripple of Hope award is the latest accolade for Kaepernick, who has proven himself adept at grabbing the spotlight despite being off the football field since 2016. Since kneeling for the National Anthem, Kaepernick has teamed up with Disney to promote his story in an upcoming documentary series for ESPN, been featured on the cover of Time magazine, was named “Citizen of the Year" by GQ magazine, and partnered with Nike for its now-infamous advertising campaign, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Similarly, Fauci has been declared a "hero" by many media outlets and has been nominated for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medal, the highest recognition for a government employee. Saturday Night Live even did a skit honoring Fauci back in April.
Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. The awards event is usually held in person but will be held virtually on Dec. 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.