It's not everyday that a group of student activists are able to influence the policies of the President of the United States. But without a meeting between student leaders and President John F. Kennedy in Ann Arbor, Michigan in October of 1960, the creation of the Peace Corps, one of Kennedy's signature achievements, may never have happened.
In discussing the legacy of JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, Tom Hayden warmly remembered meeting JFK as a student leader of the anti-war and civil rights movements. Hayden told HuffPost Live how empowering it was for him and his fellow student leaders to deliver a proposal to Kennedy and witness Kennedy carry it out in the creation of the Peace Corps.
"I remember the night. I'd drafted the letter and it was signed by a dozen student leaders," Hayden recalled. "Kennedy looked at the letter and said 'I'm gonna speak to some of this tonight' and then went out and proposed the Peace Corps."
Hayden continued: "It was an exceptional decision. Kennedy made the decision without consulting his advisers. Never before had young people been enlisted to play a role of citizens of the world. We couldn't vote, but we could join the Peace Corps."
Hayden wrote about the legacy of the Peace Corps in a HuffPost blog post in 2010.