October 06, 2011

RFK Center, NYSUT debut human rights student video contest

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, NY (October 5, 2011) - The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and New York State United Teachers, with support from the Tribeca Film Institute, have launched a new student video contest based on the Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum, which was introduced to New York schools last December.

The contest invites New York State students to create a 3-6 minute video about a human rights violation and the defender(s) fighting to stop it. The project is aimed at demonstrating the capacity of each individual to create change.

"The video contest is a great opportunity for students to learn about some of the most courageous people on earth in a creative and engaging way," said John Heffernan, director of the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power program. "This is one of the many ways young people can learn about activism and what it means to speak truth to power in the face of injustice and inequality."

"The lesson that Robert F. Kennedy taught a generation of Americans - that we all have a responsibility to stand up and speak out against inequality and oppression wherever we find it - is so important, it must be passed down to this and future generations," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "This video contest will engage students in what it means to be a defender against human rights violations."

Prior film-making experience or expertise is not required. Details about the contest can be found at All winning videos will be featured on the Speak Truth to Power web site,

The grand prize video will be shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. The deadline for entries is January 31, 2012.

The curriculum, which includes 18 teacher-developed lesson plans for students in grades 6-12, is based on RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy's book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing the World. The curriculum can be found at

NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights ( was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.


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