TODAY | November 22, 2013
>>> he was one of the most inspirational leaders this country has ever known.
>> and as we mark 50 years since his assassination, his vision for america and legacy lives on.
>> kennedy had big dreams for the united states and ordinary citizens took up his challenge.
>> i believe that the times require imagination and courage and perseverance. i'm asking each of you to be pioneers toward that new frontier.
>> i believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
>> it's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
>> the willingness of all americans to serve in the peace core is one of the most encouraging manifestations of the american spirit .
>> i hope that from it will come renewed understanding by people all over the world of a common desire for peace.
>> today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free.
>> the civil rights act is a challenge to all of us to eliminate the last vestages of injustice.
>> kennedy inspired milestones like these. moved people like the son of cotton pickers drawn to kennedy 's words about caring for our country and a life of public service . he became one of the first hispanic americans elected to the texas state senate and a college student when she modelled teach for america after the peace corps and got college graduates to teach in low income communities around the country and now around the globe. and they join us this morning. good morning to both of you.
>> good morning.
>> let me begin with you. you are a freshman at the university of texas in austin studying business at the time of the election of president kennedy . you say you were so moved by his speeches. in particular, his inaugural address . i want to play a small portion of that for you.
>> ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country .
>> what stirred inside you when you heard those words?
>> because of the way i grew up and the trials and tribulations during those years i saw someone at the national level that said i care. that means more americans care about people who are in poverty, who are ignorant and needed education and people who were ill and needed health care . so i changed my major and later went on to be a peace corps trainer and community organizer for the national urban league and worked in washington and came back for austin and ran for the house ten years and senate 21 years to try to do what he inspired in so many americans .
>> you felt the call to serve and wendy you did as well. you founded in 1990 teach for america and it's 11,000 teachers serving low income neighborhoods. teachers across the country and now even teachers all over the world for that matter. how did kennedy 's legacy inspire that in you?
>> you know, i think his call to serve and even his urging that we think of ourselves as global citizens are just completely foundational to, you know, teach for america and teach for all. and specifically, one of his tremendous legacies, the peace corps was such a source of inspiration for teach for america . it's big idea that we should channel the energy of our most promising future leaders against our most pressing needs knowing that that would make a huge, immediate impact, but also a lasting impact because those leaders would be so truly transformed by that experience. that would influence their perspective, their leadership, their career paths. and, you know, that's exactly what we're working to do at teach for america . so much inspired by that example.
>> do you think that call to action , that call to serve still resinates today? do you think that there are people who inspire our youth? our citizens?
>> it's alive and well . this past year 500,000, you know, americans applied to americorp programs like teach for america . 67,000 graduating seniors and recent college graduates competed to channel their energy into teaching in our highest need communities and we're even seeing this resinate now across the world where all over the world college students, recent grads are making a difference. 40,000 people applied to programs in the teach for all network this year which is beyond teach for america .
>> this is such an important part of the story that his legacy continues, not just about his death but that his legacy continues. thank you for being with us. thank you both.
>> for all you have done for serve.
>> greetings to austin texas .