RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
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Former UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue Joins RFK Center Europe

RFK Center Condemns The Gambia's anti-LGBT Law

Now Accepting Applications for Donald M. Wilson Legal Fellowship

Adilur Rahman Khan Receives 31st Annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

RFK Center welcomes call by the U.N. General Assembly Third Committee for accountability in North Korea

“Freedom Fighters”. Nuova tappa alla Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Spezia

Download this file (20141110_InvitoFF_Fronte-Retro_210x100 (3).pdf)Invito inaugurazione 22 novembre1657 Kb

Speak Truth To Power: Photo Exhibit

An exhibition of the powerful photographs by Eddie Adams is touring museums and galleries worldwide.

Adams is a renowned photo-journalist, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and 500 other photographic awards.

Ethel Kennedy

Ethel campaigning with Robert F. Kennedy

Ethel campaigning with Robert F. Kennedy

A devoted mother and grandmother, an avid athlete, an adventurous spirit, and a fierce competitor, Ethel Kennedy has been a tireless advocate for social justice in America for nearly half a century.

Ethel Kennedy was born in Chicago to George and Ann Skakel and grew up in a family of seven children in Connecticut. In 1950, she married Robert F. Kennedy.

Parents to eleven children, Robert and Ethel Kennedy made their home at Hickory Hill, an estate in McLean, Virginia. For 60 years, the home served as a hub of Washington, D.C.’s political and cultural life, welcoming heads of state, Pulitzer Prize winners, civil rights workers, poets, athletes, astronauts, authors, actors, rock stars, bullfighters, children of all ages and a whole lot of animals. Over this constant activity, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., would write, “Ethel presided with inexhaustible high spirits.”

A tireless campaigner since the mid-1940s, Ethel has hit the trail for three generations of Kennedys: her husband Robert and her brothers-in-law John F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy; her children Joe and Kathleen; her nephews Patrick Kennedy and Mark Shriver; and her grandson Joe Kennedy III, who currently represents Massachusetts’s 4th Congressional district. Ethel was an early supporter of President Obama, referring to him as “our next president” in interviews as early as 2006. During his 2008 campaign, she stumped for him in Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Virginia, Indiana, and Denver.

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus (left) with Ethel at the 2013 Ripple of Hope Awards

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus (left) with Ethel at the 2013 Ripple of Hope Awards

Ethel’s commitment to justice and human rights has taken her around the globe. She marched with Cesar Chavez and the California farmworkers; visited with the Native Americans who occupied Alcatraz in the early 1970s; boycotted fast food businesses with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; demonstrated outside the South African and Chinese embassies; joined the Global March for Children; helped to clean the Anacostia River; trekked through mountainous terrain in Mexico to visit wrongly convicted prisoners; traveled to Haiti to see the effects of U.S. sanctions; visited Apartheid-era South Africa; crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge with Congressman John Lewis in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march to Selma; confronted former Kenyan president Danial arap Moi in Nairobi; filled a 757 with relief supplies for African countries; visited orphanages in Angola; and raised millions of dollars for human rights work around the globe.

In 1968, Ethel joined family and friends to carry on her husband Robert’s unfinished work. Today, the RFK Center partners with those on the front lines of the fight for justice; brings human rights education into schools around the globe; and encourages financial leaders to consider human rights in their investment strategies, working with courageous individuals to create a more just and peaceful world. In addition to her work on the RFK Center’s board, Ethel hosts an annual golf tournament in Hyannis Port to benefit the center’s work.

Proud grandmother of 37 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Ethel cherishes time with her family and continues to work for change. In the summer of 2014, she became an Internet sensation when she participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness for ALS research and challenged President Obama to do the same. In November of 2014, the president announced that Ethel would be among the 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

2013 Journalism Award Recipients

Student Categories 

High School Print Winner

Special Needs Cheer Squad Volunteer, Alexis Christo, Francis Howell North High School, North Star

In her story "Cheering Through it All," Alexis Christo takes a look at a cheerleading squad through the eyes of one of its volunteers, Sami Ritter. The cheerleading squad, Adrenaline Explosion Cheer (AEC), from O’Fallon, MO, is a cheer team for kids with special needs. Christo attended Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, MO, and now attends the University of Missouri.

College Winner

M-Powered, Patricia Thompson, Aubry Killion, Cain Madden, Margaret Ann Morgan, Jajuan McNeil,and Katie Williamson, University of Mississippi, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

San Mateo, Belize, is a neglected community less than a mile from beautiful resort beaches. Residents lived without running water and sewers, and traveled in and out of their neighborhood on small plank bridges over dangerously contaminated water. A multimedia depth report and five-part television series produced by journalism students and faculty at the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media helped shine
an international spotlight on San Mateo’s problems, and the inspiring interdisciplinary work of students and professors who worked with the community for several years on a road-building project. M-Powered and the television series were the work of Patricia Thompson, Aubry Killion, Cain Madden, Jajuan McNeil, Margaret Ann Morgan, Katie Williamson, Mikki Harris and Darren Sanefski.
Professional Categories

Domestic Print Winnter

"Prognosis: Profits," Ames Alexander, Karen Garloch, Joseph Neff, David Raynor, Jim Walser and Steve Riley, The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer

Most of the state’s hospitals enjoy a perk worth millions: They pay no income, property or sales taxes. In return, they’re expected to provide benefits to the communities they serve, chiefly in the form of free or sharply discounted care to people who can’t afford to pay their bills. But while those hospitals were created with charitable missions, many don’t act like nonprofits anymore.
International Print Winner 

"The iEconomy," Charles Duhigg, The New York Times

Apple Inc., with its enormous profits, messianic founder and wildly popular products, had become a company almost above reproach. The New York Times looked at the decisions of this one iconic firm to explain how the global economy is changing and how American jobs are being transformed in an increasingly interconnected world.
Photography Winner

Uncle Charlie, Marc Asnin, CNN Photos

“People often ask me what Uncle Charlie is about. After thirty years, one would think I would be able to easily sum it up. But this book is life, raw unintelligible life; the life of one man, my uncle, and as in life, there are no easy answers or summaries. It’s about broken dreams, disappointment, and having the resiliency to find slivers of happiness in an oppressed existence. It’s about consequences, missed opportunities, delusions and loss. It’s a
collaboration of sorts: his words and my images. It’s my dance with my godfather.”—Marc Asnin
Radio Winner 

"An ‘Occupational Hazard’: Rape in the Military”, Bob Edwards, Ariana Pekary, and Ed McNulty, The Bob Edwards Show, SiriusXM

The Bob Edwards Show presents a feature documentary titled “An ‘Occupational Hazard’: Rape in the Military.” We hear from servicemen and women about their Military Sexual Trauma, advocates who help treat and raise awareness about the problem, and lawmakers about what is and isn’t being done to change the culture that protects these sexual perpetrators.

New Media Winner

Beyond 7 Billion, Kenneth R. Weiss, Rick Loomis, and LA Times Staff, Los Angeles Times

The statistics are urgent: More than 7 billion people crowd the planet, and by mid-century there will probably be 2 billion more. At least 8 million a year perish of hunger-related illness. Yet the population explosion and its myriad complications have become a taboo subject, widely ignored until the Los Angeles Times published the five-part series, “Beyond 7 Billion,” accompanied by interactive graphics and six short documentary films. Reporter Kenneth R. Weiss and photographer Rick Loomis crisscrossed the globe, from the shantytowns of Manila, to the smog-choked cities of China’s coal belt and mortar-pocked prisons of Afghanistan, to illuminate a story of vast complexity. They rendered the abstract human with portraits of devastating poignancy. Their series showed how the population boom is closely linked to hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, social instability and the powerlessness of women in the developing world.

Cartoon Winner

Jen Sorensen, Cartoons by Jen Sorensen, Kaiser Health News, Austin Chronicle, NPR.org, Ms. Magazine, The Progressive

This entry consisted of a four-page comic for Kaiser Health News titled “An Open Letter to the Supreme Court About Health Insurance.” It told the story of the difficulties Jen Sorenson faced as a freelancer trying to get health insurance through the individual market. This entry also included several of Sorensen’s political cartoons from 2012.
Domestic Television Winner

"Poor Kids," Jezza Neumann and Lauren Mucciolo, PBS Frontline

One in five children in the US today are growing up in poverty. This film investigates the effect of the fall into poverty on a new generation and gives a voice to the children whose families are experiencing the harsh reality of severe financial hardship. Following their lives over a period of several months, "Frontline: Poor Kids" looks at the world from the point of view of a handful of emotionally intelligent and startlingly articulate children, exploring what life is like for some of the youngest victims of the economic decline. Through their eyes and in their words, their stories – while often laced with dark humour – starkly illustrate how hard life can be at the bottom of society’s ladder.

International Television Winner 

"Lobster Trap," Catherine Olian and Natalie Morales, NBC News – Rock Center with Brian Williams

“Lobster Trap” investigates the brutal human suffering behind a culinary delicacy: lobster imported from Honduras to the United States. Off the remote Miskito Coast, men daily risk their health and their lives diving to catch what they call “red gold”. With little training or safety equipment, they often catch something else – severe cases of decompression sickness, known as “the bends.” The result; thousands of former divers are now permanently paralyzed and live in abject poverty in Honduras. “Lobster Trap” tells the tragic story of the divers and the one man, Dr. Elmer Mejia, who is desperately trying to save them.

2014 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Recipients

Domestic Television Winner

“Rape in the Fields/ Violación de un Sueño,” Andrés Cediel, Lowell Bergman, Lauren Rosenfeld, Bernice Yeung, Susanne Reber, Grace Rubenstein, Stephanie Mechura, Raney Aronson, Juan Rendon, Isaac Lee, UC Berkley IRP, CIR, FRONTLNE, and Univision

For the women who pick and handle the food we eat every day, sexual assault often comes with the job. “Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño” uncovers the hidden price that many migrant women working in America’s fields and packing plants, especially those who are undocumented, are paying to keep their jobs and provide for their families.

International Television Winner

“Made in Bangladesh,” Anjali Kamat, Laila Al-Arian, Mathieu Skene, Warwick Meade, Tim Grucza, Andy Bowley and Fault Lines Staff, Al Jazeera

This investigative documentary from Fault Lines examines the story behind a factory fire in Bangladesh that killed at least 112 people in November 2012. Tracing the supply chains of retail giants Walmart and Gap Inc., “Made in Bangladesh” uncovers the abuses inherent in their production practices. The film weaves together footage of working conditions in garment factories with a thorough investigation of corporate misbehavior to provide a chilling picture of the human cost of cheap clothing.

Domestic Print Winner

“Homes for the Taking: Liens, Loss and Profiteers,” Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah, and Steven Rich, The Washington Post

The story that struck down one of the nation's oldest systems of debt collection started with a duplex on a forlorn corner of Washington, D.C. and an aging ex-Marine named Bennie Coleman.

Suffering from dementia, Coleman was forced from his home when a tax lien investor evicted him over an unpaid debt of $134. The Vietnam veteran lost everything; He had owned his $197,000 home free and clear. For more than a hundred years, the District of Columbia had placed liens on houses when owners fell behind on their taxes and then sold the liens at auction to private investors. But a year-long Washington Post investigation found that the program had morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for aggressive investors who took hundreds of properties from the elderly, the disabled and the poor over bills as small as $44 and then flipped them for millions. The Post's investigation prompted city leaders to pass sweeping emergency legislation to protect homes owned by the elderly and poor and a dozen U.S. Congressmen to call for the first federal investigation of the troubled industry.

International Print Winner

“Tungsten’s Tainted Trail, “ Michael Smith, Tim Culpan, Alex Webb, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Jonathan Neumann, Bloomberg Markets

On a sweltering day in an Amazon jungle in Colombia, Michael Smith picked his way through a snake-infested region far beyond the control of police. He was trekking along a river with local Indians who make a hard living mining metals for the Revolutionary Armed Forces Group of Colombia, a terrorist organization known as FARC. The destination was an illegal 15-acre tungsten mine.

During the journey, an Indian leader told Smith that a FARC commander became aware of the reporters' journey and had threatened to kidnap or kill the reporter. Smith did turn back that day, but he stayed on the story for six months. He interviewed miners and smugglers in the jungle. In Bogota, he searched export records. He pieced together a paper trail of transactions leading to multi-national companies worldwide: makers of BMWs, Ferraris, and Porsches, as well as smartphones made by Apple and Samsung were part the tainted supply chain.

The story led to a criminal investigation of companies exporting the mineral. Apple, Samsung and car makers opened investigations and later cleaned their supply lines.

Domestic Photography Winner

“Private Wars,” Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times

The series “Private Wars” shows us three war stories that are fought off the battlefield. The first chronicles the strength and resolve of a soldier’s wife to keep her family together after her husband completely fell apart when he returned from Iraq. Next is the story of two soldiers who bonded in battle – one returning with a scorched soul, the other with a seared body. Finally, there is the story of a gay soldier who, while fighting on enemy soil, also fights for the right to love who he chooses.

International Photography Winner

“CONDEMNED: Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis,” Robin Hammond

Over the course of two years in ten different African countries, Robin Hammond documented the mental health impact of crises in sub-Saharan Africa for his project ‘CONDEMNED.’ He travelled to war ravaged regions of eastern Congo, South Sudan, Mogadishu, northern Uganda and Liberia. He spent time with the displaced in refugee camps in Somalia and Dadaab. In Nigeria he went to see the impacts of corruption on facilities for the mentally ill. In Sierra Leone he documented how people treated mental illness when government facilities were dysfunctional. His stark black and white photos shed a light on a population abandoned by governments, forgotten by the aid community, neglected and abused by entire societies.

Radio Winner

“Life After War: Coverage of Veterans,” Quil Lawrence, Bruce Auster, and Marisa Peñaloza, NPR News

When troops become veterans, they face a new struggle: the transition to civilian life. Two-and-a-half million men and women served in Iraq and Afghanistan so far. Some bear grievous wounds; others carry less visible scars. They are treated alternately with reverence, anxiety, or indifference by the American public. NPR’s on-going coverage brings the voices of veterans to 26 million weekly listeners in the U.S. The stories – comprising a wide range of experience – examined the social contract between the nation and those who went to war. What does America owe vets for their service? Are those obligations being met? The stories veterans told NPR suggest that too often the contract has been broken.

New Media Winner

“Myanmar Emerges”, Thomas Mucha, Solana Pyne, David Case, Patrick Winn, and Jonah Kessel, Los Angeles Times

GlobalPost's year-long investigation of Myanmar's emergence onto the global scene takes a hard look beyond the fairy tale narrative of a reform movement with uncompromising reporting on how decades of oppression is today affecting the country’s economy and people. To unpack the promise and peril of this formerly isolated country also known as Burma our correspondents, Patrick Winn and Jonah Kessel, traveled to nearly every corner of the county. While Myanmar’s generals have made peace with Aung San Suu Kyi, lifting her from house arrest to parliament, GlobalPost examines how the rest of the country is struggling to adapt in an economy stymied by decades of political repression, thus giving rise to widespread child labor abuses.

Cartoon Winner

“Portfolio by David Horsey,” David Horsey, Los Angeles Times

A veteran observer of American politics, David Horsey frequently takes on issues of social justice in his award-winning, nationally syndicated cartoons. In 2013 he turned even more often to those themes to expose the nation’s widening chasm of income inequality: the gun violence that plagues our schools and public places, attacks on voting rights, elected officials in thrall to big money donors, stale arguments against same sex marriage, and the shame of Guantanamo. From scenes of the wealthy ascending in gold plated elevators to a caricature of a boy shooting his teddy bear with a gun manufactured especially for kids, Horsey drew compelling images that illuminated the nation’s thorny, uphill trek toward greater justice and political sanity.

College Winner

“A Broken Promise: Dowry Violence in India,” Varsha Ramakrishnan, Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine

"A Broken Promise" delves into the prevalence of “dowry violence” in India. Weddings in India are steeped in tradition and culture. In Hinduism, there are multiple rules and religious requirements that need to be fulfilled to sanctify a marriage - one of them is the system of dowry. The dowry was initially a means of financial independence for a bride. Today it is a way for a groom to extort money from a bride and her family. Although an ancient tradition, the violence associated with it has only increased in modern day India. The phenomenon of dowry violence cuts across all socioeconomic strata and remains an under-reported crime against women in India. This story explores the issue from the perspectives of multiple NGOs, lawyers, academic researchers, doctors and social workers. And most importantly, it gives voice to the real life anguish of three victims who otherwise would have had to suffer in silence.

High School Broadcast Winner

“Homeless in the Heartland,” Kaley Prier, Savanna Steffen, John Harmon, Kara Mullen, Kelsey Williams, Caleb Brown, Cody House, Ryan Lindsey, and Breanna Feemster, Hillcrest High School, Springfield, MO

“Homeless in the Heartland” gives a voice to young people who are or have recently been living on the streets in Springfield, MO. Nine students from the staff of Hillcrest High School’s “HTV” spent over three months talking to homeless youth and to some of the people in Springfield who are trying to assist them. The segment provides powerful evidence that the homeless youth issue is not confined to larger, urban areas. It also reflects the frustrations faced by those who would prefer to be off the streets but have major challenges just getting by day-to-day.

High School Print Winner

“Stop-and-Frisk: Time for a Change,” Linda Sankat and Autumn Spanne, Youth Communication, YCteen

In 2013, 88% of New Yorkers stopped by the NYPD were found to be completely innocent. "Stop-And-Frisk: Time For a Change" explores the deficiencies and injustices of New York City's policing practices. This article focuses chiefly on the New York Police Department's disproportionately abundant and brutal persecution of the city's youth. By exposing the discriminatory nature of police brutality used against some of the city's most vulnerable populations, this article asserts the critical need for police reform and the urgency for greater youth activism to combat the prejudice and corruption that infiltrates the NYPD.

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