Ethel Kennedy made her first visit to Minnesota to see the Children's Theatre Company put on a stage production tonight based on a book by Kerry Kennedy, the sixth of her and the late Robert F. Kennedy's 11 children.
"Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark" has been performed in only a few U.S. cities and nine countries.
On Sunday night, Ethel Kennedy, 79, received a state proclamation from Gov. Tim Pawlenty as part of this being Minnesota Human Rights Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 6).
In presenting the honor to Kennedy at the Bellanotte restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, the governor told the assembled: "The best sermons aren't preached, they are lived; she has lived a life of meaning, she has lived a life of deep substance."
Kennedy appeared taken aback by the praise and gave the governor a nonverbal signal that he had given her enough compliments.
In an interview earlier, Kennedy praised the Minneapolis philanthropic spirit, saying it had "no rival. They give and give and give."
Kennedy, a figure in one of the 20th century's most influential Democratic families, had kind words for Minnesota's governor, calling him "an uncommon Republican. I was congratulating him on not raising taxes and still being financially stable."
Others at Sunday night's festivities: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, businessman Denny Hecker and actor Martin Sheen.
Sheen is in the cast for tonight's Children's Theatre Company production.
Kennedy is a founding member of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial and a member of its board of directors. The memorial's Center for Human Rights works to advance the human rights movement by supporting recipients of the RFK Human Rights Award. The 2007 award went to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian relief organization that set up a mock refugee camp that opened last week in Minneapolis' Loring Park.
Minnesota Human Rights Week includes organizations hosting educational events and seminars devoted to raising human rights awareness.