June 2016 Issue
June 28, 2016

Speak Truth to Power student video winners announced

Source: NYSUT United

Students from three New York State schools are top winners in the 2016 Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest. New Hyde Park Junior- Senior High School student Lena Pon won first place for "The Basics of Life." Another New Hyde Park student, Victoria McGuigan, won second place for "The Search for Peace." A team of six students from Skaneateles High School in Central New York took home a first-place win for "Tear the Tape: Speak Truth to Women's Rights." Finally, Daniel Sohayegh from Jericho High School won third place for "Silenced."

Sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Tribeca Film Institute, the Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest highlights human rights issues for middle and high school students through video production. Based on Kerry Kennedy's 2000 book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing Our World, student contestants create a 3–5 minute video featuring one of the 51 human rights defenders profiled in the publication.

"The Speak Truth to Power Student Video Contest teaches students how to be a force for change in their schools, communities and countries," said Paul Pecorale, NYSUT vice president, who oversees the union's social justice programs. "Best of all, it's done in a fun way that both encourages student creativity and underscores the importance of human rights and protecting those rights."

Launched in 2012, the contest builds on the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum, which provides developmentally appropriate lessons about human rights and social justice to more than one million students in the United States and around the world.

Contest entries were judged by more than 20 active educators nationwide and staff from the AFT, RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights and the Tribeca Film Institute. One grand-prize-winning submission, "How to be an American Muslim" by Pat McGarry of Howell High School in Farmingdale, N.J., was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Visit www.speaktruthvideo.com/#!2016-contest-highlights/d27he for a complete list of contest winners.

The deadline for the 2017 contest is March 6, 2017.