January 03, 2017

NYSUT and Robert Kennedy Human Rights launch 2017 video contests

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations and RFKHR
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Caption: Human rights defender Malala Yousafzai. Photo courtesy RFKHR.

New York, NY - January 4, 2017 - New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) are launching the Everyone Has Rights Public Service Announcement Contest for grades K-5 and the Speak Truth To Power video contest for middle and high school students.

Everyone Has Rights: Grades K-5

Building on the Speak Truth To Power video contest, the Everyone Has Rights contest asks students 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 (PSA) announcement that creatively discusses the right and its importance.

Students may work individually, in small groups or as an entire class to complete the PSAs. The contest is open to documentary, stop motion, narrative, digital photo essay or other innovative genres.  Videos must be submitted digitally by April 1, 2017, to www.everyonehasrights.com. Fifteen outstanding PSA videos will be recognized, with each winning classroom receiving $100 in supplies and $50 toward a classroom celebration.

Speak Truth To Power: Grades 6-12

The Speak Truth To Power Video Contest is offered to students nationally through a partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, American Federation of Teachers, Tribeca Film Institute and NYSUT.  Open to students in grades 6-12, the contest asks students to look at the life of a human rights defender and make 3- to 5-minute video on how the defender made a difference and how we all can make a difference in our own communities.  This year’s featured human rights Defenders are Andrea James and Glenn E. Martin, the winners of the 2016 RFKennedy Human Rights Award.  Videos for the Speak Truth To Power video contest must be submitted by March 6, 2017 to www.speaktruthvideo.com.

“We are thrilled to be part of these contests,” said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “We have seen, from last year’s videos, how it can educate young students about human rights and the importance of ensuring that those rights are protected.”

Both contests build upon the RFKHR’s Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum, which is taught to more than 3 million students in the United States and around the world each year, 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 Speak Truth To Power curriculum and video contest, and now through this PSA contest, we’ve seen students learn how to be forces for change in their schools, communities and countries,” said John Heffernan, Speak Truth To Power Executive Director. “It’s important for students, at a very young age, learn about what it means to protect basic human rights.”

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NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents 600,000 professionals in education, human services and health care. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

Robert F. Kennedy 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. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.


Jenny Girardi
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Office: 202-463-7575    
Email: Girardi@rfkhumanrights.org

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