Early Childhood Education
December 10, 2013

NYSUT and RFK Center launch human rights contest for younger students

Source: NYSUT and RFK Center
psa contest

New York, Dec. 10 - New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) launched the "Everyone Has Rights Public Service Announcement Contest" for young students in New York state. Building on the Speak Truth To Power video contest for middle school and high school students, this contest aims to increase the understanding of basic rights and encourage action among students in grades K-5.  

Students will be asked to select one of the rights identified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – such as the right to education or to freedom of peaceful assembly – and create a 60- to 90-second public service announcement that creatively discusses the right and its importance. 

"This new and creative contest will educate young students about human rights and the importance of ensuring that those rights are protected," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "NYSUT members are proud to be a part of a project that demonstrates how young people can create change."

The contest builds upon the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum taught to more than one million students in the United States and around the world, from pre-school to law school. The program - inspired by Kerry Kennedy's book, Speak Truth To Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing the World - provides developmentally-appropriate lessons on human rights and social justice that recognize the role these topics play in children's emotional development.  

"Through the RFK Speak Truth To Power curriculum and video contest, we've seen students learn how to be forces for change in their schools, communities and countries," said RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy. "We are thrilled to expand our video contest project to connect directly with the youngest students in the Speak Truth family." 

For the contest, students may work individually, in small groups or as an entire class to complete the PSAs.  The format is open to documentary, stop motion, narrative, digital photo essay or other innovative techniques.  Videos must be submitted online by May 1, 2013, and will be judged by a panel that includes Iannuzzi and Kennedy.  Twenty outstanding PSA videos will be recognized, with each winning classroom receiving $100 in supplies, $75 toward a classroom celebration, and a copy of Kerry Kennedy's book Speak Truth To Power for the facilitating teacher.

"It is never too early to teach children about social justice," added NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler, who oversees the union's social justice programs. "This contest will raise awareness in a fun and engaging way."

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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.

Meaghan Baron 
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights 
Office 917-284-6352 | Mobile 917-426-2823 
Email baron@rfkcenter.org

Photo used under Creative Commons from Mataparda

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