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Speak Truth To Power Student Video Contest goes national

Speak Truth To Power

Middle and high school students across the country have a chance this fall to become engaged in human rights, study one of many rights defenders from around the world, and make a video short film that could take them to the winners' circle at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York next spring.

The American Federation of Teachers, the New York State United Teachers and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights have launched the third annual Speak Truth To Power Student Video Contest. With the AFT's involvement this year, the contest is open for the first time to students across the nation.

This fall, the RFK Center and the AFT will host training sessions with filmmakers from the Tribeca Film Institute in several cities and will offer other resources online to teachers across the country who are interested in presenting the 2013 Speak Truth To Power Video Contest to their classes. The deadline for contest entries is Feb. 14, 2014.

The video competition, started in 2011 by NYSUT and the RFK Center—and conducted in partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute—invites students in grades 6-12 to create a three- to six-minute video examining a human rights issue or violation and profiling the defenders who are fighting to restore justice. The contest builds upon the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, taught in schools across the United States and around the world.

The aim of the curriculum is to teach students about human rights through the lives of modern-day heroes in the field—the Martin Luther King's and Mahatma Gandhi's of today. The Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum has been disseminated to hundreds of thousands of students in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. In partnership with NYSUT, the Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum was launched in New York in 2010. The online curriculum includes 32 teacher-developed lesson plans. Speak Truth To Power began as a book written by Kerry Kennedy that presented portraits of human rights defenders in the United States and around the world.