Learn About the Role Women Had in Creating the Declaration of Human Rights and the Video Contest That Aims to Empower Young People

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Women have left an indelible mark on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Through advocating for particular rights to appear as articles or changing the very language of the text, women have influenced the shape of the Declaration since its inception. The 75th anniversary of the UDHR will be celebrated in December of 2023. Ahead of this milestone celebration is this year’s Human Rights Day on December 10th.

Looking at the past is key for the future as well as recognizing and supporting the women human rights defenders who have and are continuing to shape a better world. Through the ‘Speak Truth to Power’ human rights education program, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) works with teachers and schools across the country to provide resources that equip the next generation with the concrete knowledge and skills they need to advance human rights.

In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and the Tribeca Festival, the annual Speak Truth to Power Video Contest was created, encouraging middle and high school students to use film as a tool to discuss human rights issues that resonate with them. The contest is designed so that students from all backgrounds can participate without needing expensive equipment or prior video editing skills. The Grand Prize winner will participate in a Tribeca Festival event in New York City, where their video will premiere. Along with the newly instated Archewell Foundation Award for Gender Equity in Student Film, special awards will be presented to filmmakers who use only a smartphone to create their videos, and 25 videos will receive honorable mentions.

On December 9th, Kerry Kennedy, President of RFKHR discussed the goal to help people understand and value human rights and why it’s important to educate future generations about defending and respecting fundamental freedoms. She also shared details on the Speak Truth to Power video contest and how middle and high schoolers can get involved.

For more information visit: rfkhumanrights.org

Kerry Kennedy is President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. She is the proud mother of three daughters, Cara, Mariah, and Michaela. A human rights activist and lawyer, she authored New York Times best seller Being Catholic Now, as well as Speak Truth to Power and Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope. Kerry, the seventh of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy’s eleven children, has devoted more than 40 years to the pursuit of equal justice, the promotion and protection of basic rights, and the preservation of the rule of law. She works on a range of issues, including child labor, women’s rights, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, criminal justice reform, immigration, impunity, and environmental justice. She has led hundreds of human rights delegations in support of these causes. A member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars, she is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School. She holds honorary Doctor of Law from Le Moyne College, University of San Francisco Law School, and University of New Caledonia, and honorary doctorates of Humane Letters from Bay Path College and the Albany College of Pharmacy. She appears regularly as a commentator on national and worldwide television networks and is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines.

Interview provided by: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR)