RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
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RFK Center Congratulates Winners of Speak Truth To Power Video Contest

(Washington, D.C. – Apr. 16, 2013) The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) is proud to announce the Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn has won the Grand Prize of the Second Annual Speak Truth To Power video contest with their film, 'Modern Slavery & Sex Trafficking.'

This years grand prize-winning video highlights the work of human rights defender Juliana Dogbadzi of Ghana. In the film, students explain how the modern-day slavery of sex trafficking is intertwined with politics, poverty, and a host of other issues. The students will have the honor of having their film screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, but as one teacher explained, the prize means so much more:

"When we first started preparing for the contest a young lady said to me, 'I'll just be glad to get first or second place.' I told her, 'Don't you ever settle. Don't you ever settle for last place.' When I told her we were in the top three, she was so surprised. As she looked at me I told her, 'Don't you ever settle when you have greatness in you.' Today we found out we came in first and I looked at her. She looked at me and smiled. In her eyes was a new confidence that I had not seen before. She became changed."

The Speak Truth To Power video contest, which attracted entries from over 250 schools across the state of New York, was sponsored by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the Tribeca Film Institute, and the RFK Center. Developed to promote the Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum which teaches young people to identify as human rights defenders, the video contest called on middle and high school students to make three to six minute videos inspired by one of the RFK Center's human rights defenders.

"This year, thanks to the partnership with NYSUT and the Tribeca Film Institute, and the efforts of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, we were able to increase outreach and the quality of submissions by conducting two teacher trainings," said John Heffernan, Director of RFK Speak Truth To Power. "In the end we tripled the number of submissions we received last year and gave the judges an impressive group of films to review."

The judge’s panel, which included Alec Baldwin, Alfre Woodard, Rory Kennedy, Beth Janson, Dick Iannuzzi, and Kerry Kennedy, looked for student films that used creative storytelling through documentary, stop motion, narrative, or digital photo essay. In addition to choosing the Young Women's Leadership School's video for the grand prize, the judges selected Robert Riglietti of Harborfields High School in Greenlawn and Adam Kluge of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Tonawanda to receive first place prizes. Both students created films inspired by anti-bullying activist Jamie Nabozny.


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