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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1746
AUTHOR: Robert Francis Kennedy (1925–68)
QUOTATION: Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws—but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted—when we tolerate what we know to be wrong—when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened—when we fail to speak up and speak out—we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.
ATTRIBUTION: ROBERT F. KENNEDY, attorney general, remarks before the Joint Defense Appeal of the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith, Chicago, Illinois, June 21, 1961.—A New Day: Robert F. Kennedy, ed. Bill Adler, p. 26 (1968).
SUBJECTS: Speaking out