|Last Saturday night in East Hampton at the estate of Courtney Sale Ross, friends and family gathered to celebrate the inaugural event of the 40th anniversary of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, including his widow Ethel and some of his children. The Memorial was founded the year of Senator Kennedy’s assassination. It is a nonprofit organization that works to realize Robert Kennedy’s dream of a peaceful and just world. Its domestic and international programs work to empower the oppressed, build our next generation of leaders and tackle the toughest problems facing our civilization.
There are times for many of us who are old enough to remember Bobby Kennedy – as he was familiarly referred to by the press and the public -- and his enormous charisma. Many of us are still provoked to wonder how our world might have been different if he had lived. He personified great power to affect people’s lives positively. To his followers and supporters he represented courage and strength.
As his brother Jack’s Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy was a powerful and controversial figure, loved in some quarters but loathed in others. He had a reputation for being a scrapper, a fighter, not one to back down.
Jack’s assassination devastated the country and all eyes were on brother Bobby with concern as to where he’d put his tremendous energy without his brother to serve. It was well known that he and Lyndon Johnson, the succeeding President, were not the best of friends. It was widely believed that they both couldn’t stand each other.
Nine months after Jack’s assassination, Bobby left the Johnson Administration to run for U.S. Senator from New York. This move provoked a lot of hostile criticism (and accusations of “carpetbagger”). However he went on to win the office.
|It was during this single term as U.S. Senator that a new profile emerged. The man who theretofore had been called “ruthless” and “willful” had become a gentler, yet still very determined, public figure. The War in Viet Nam had come to dominate the national discourse. Protesting was everywhere in small gatherings and in massive gatherings. The primary matter on the national agenda was “getting out of Viet Nam.”
Bobby Kennedy’s words led his followers to believe that he would somehow extract the country out of the great debacle. In retrospect, it seems as if that dream of ending the War also died by gunshot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on that fateful night in June 1968. Richard Nixon was elected President with a “secret plan” to end the War, playing to the nation’s same wishes. However, the War continued for another seven years until the North Vietnamese marched into Saigon and everybody who could, including all American servicemen, evacuated the country as quickly as they could get on a boat or a plane.
It retrospect, Bobby Kennedy (now known as RFK) was a great romantic figure on the national scene, almost a folk hero despite being the son of a rich and controversial man. Although he never lived to realize any of the dreams he articulated, in memory he remains an excellent example of a caring man in pursuit of peace and equal justice for all, a man who might have made the difference.
|Last Sunday night at Grey Gardens in East Hampton, Frances Hayward hosted an “Art For Animals” Supper in Honor of Russell Simmons and the Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle.
Frances gives an annual summer dinner at the old Edith Bouvier Beale house (now immortalized by the Maysles Brothers’ documentary about its famous inhabitants, mother and daughter Beale).
Frances has worked diligently to promote animal welfare and to raise funds through her non-profit BeKind.org, which helps animals in need through different ventures including funding organizations and projects. In the past, Frances has combined forces with Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the US on a number of initiatives -- including the nation-wide campaign to ban the barbaric “Conibear” traps that caused the untimely death of the Long Island dog Zephyr last Fall; and to increase animal cancer awareness through prevention and awareness as the deadly disease caused the death of her beloved rescued Shepherd Amigo this past year.
The week before Frances was a chair at Simmons “Art For Life” benefit. In this past year, Frances, Russell Simmons and Pacelle have worked together on different initiatives to raise awareness and funds for animals, including their recent national Public Service Announcement to stop dog fighting and the horrific practice of dog baiting. The national campaign by the trio first created a buzz around the country with the Michael Vick sentencing and most recently with the Pit Bull attacks in New York City.
|Also, last Friday night in the Hamptons, in Watermill, the Help for Orphans International’s 2nd Annual Hamptons benefit at Nova’s Ark Project drew over 300 guests. Jill Zarin, of The Real Housewives of New York, and Sarah Ehrlich, founder of the organization, co-chaired the event which raised funds to build a vocational school for 50 orphans in Kisii, Kenya which will open next year.
The event also brought out all of the “Real Housewives” including Bethenny Frankel, LuAnn, the Countess deLesseps, Alex McCord, Ramona Singer as well as the newest “Real Housewife,” the beautiful Kelly Killoren Bensimon. Cameras were rolling for Season 2 of the hit Bravo show.
|The new school in Kenya will give the older orphans in Kisii – who have finished their basic education – the skills needed to create careers and participate in their villages. They will be taught sustainable agriculture, dairy farming, horticulture, art and other skills needed to support themselves, their families and others, including other orphaned children.
Among the guests gathered on Friday night were Lucia Hwong Gordon, Sara Herbert-Galloway Michael Mione, Justin Love, Tex Caldaerola, Glenn Myles, Bobby Zarin and Dr. Robert DiPilla. Ms. Frankel guest-bartended at the Skinny Girl Martini Bar and everyone was happy.
|Meanwhile, last Thursday evening, when so many of her friends were heading for the Hamptons, over in St. Tropez, Denise Rich and A Small World, the global private online community founded by investment banker Erich Wachtmeister, hosted a party “Soiree Tropezienne” aboard Denise’s yacht, The Lady Joy, in the port of St. Tropez. Ivana was there. And Mr. Wachtmeister, Johnny Pigozzi, Tony Murray, Christian and Nick Candy, Carole Rome, Joan Collins and Percy Gibson, as well as Buzz and Lois Aldrin, Carol Alt, Lady Victoria Hervey, Lady Monika del Campo Bacardi and dozens more of that ilk and stripe.|
|Photographs by ©PatrickMcMullan.com; Rob Rich/Hamptonscene.com|