RFK Human Rights Video and Music Contests

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights video and music contest deadlines have been extended! You still have time to use art as a tool for community building, self-expression, and collective transformation.

Music Contest
Students create a song that uses their own voices and perspectives to take a stand against human rights abuses. Their music can contribute to creating meaningful change on any pressing human rights issues such as racial justice, the right to health care, domestic violence, or criminal justice. The contest, presented in partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, is open to any genre of music, and entries will be judged by a panel of GRAMMY-nominated artists. The grand prize winner will perform at a GRAMMY-related event and participate in a virtual student showcase.

Music Contest Deadline: Monday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Video Contest
The Speak Truth video contest invites students to make a three- to five-minute video that uses creative storytelling to teach people about a human rights issue through the work of a human rights defender. This is an opportunity for students to share their thoughts on what is happening in the world around them in a creative and original way. The format is open to documentary, stop-motion, narrative, or other innovative explorations. The grand prize-winning film will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Video Contest Deadline: Monday, April 26 at 11:59 p.m. EDT

End Gun Violence

Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
8 – 9 pm


It’s been 3 years since the March For Our Lives and the work to end gun violence is as relevant today as ever with 9 mass shootings in the past week – a painful reminder that we don’t have the luxury to celebrate progress.

Today March for a Lives is a powerful movement that continues to fight to end gun violence, with an expanded view of how we achieve a better world.

Learn how you can get involved – join an open call with March for Our Lives at 8PM ET tonight on Twitter and Facebook to look at how far we’ve come, and talk about what’s coming next.

Stop Line 3 – For Water. For Treaties. For Climate

Line 3 is a tar sands oil pipeline currently under construction in Canada and Minnesota — violating treaty rights, risking over 200 bodies of water with the threat of an oil spill, and reversing our progress on climate change with a carbon equivalent of 50 coal-fired power plants. 

The pipeline’s impacts on the economy, natural resources, and public health, and its violations of indigenous rights are unacceptable.

First Nations, tribal governments, landowners, environmental groups, and communities across the Great Lakes have been fighting for 5 years now to stop this new corridor and #StopLine3 . See the links below to learn more about how you can get involved to protect the water and our future generations

>> Learn more about Line 3
>> Watch film and download study guide
>> Take action

Write for Rights 2020

Uniting supporters from more than 100 countries, Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s largest annual human rights campaign

Every December, during Write for Rights, people like you from around the world write letters for people experiencing human rights abuse and in need of urgent help. People like Nassima (pictured top right) who has been locked up since 2018 for protesting against the ‘male guardianship’ system in Saudi Arabia. Through the power of collective action, your letters will help convince government officials to free Nassima and other people unjustly imprisoned or facing abuses. 

In the past, the project has freed prisoners of conscience, saved the lives of human rights defenders under attack, stopped torture, and put an end to some of the world’s worse human rights abuses.

>> Learn more and get involved

Black Lives Matter at School – Year of Purpose

Join the Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose and Week of Action in the fight for racial justice in education. The Year of Purpose has two major components:

  • Reflect. Educators and parents who have been pressed into educating their kids at home due to COVID-19 — are called on to answer a series of reflection questions that help them better analyze their pedagogy with respect to anti-racist practices.
  • Take Action. Educators, students, parents, and community members are called on to organize for a day of action during every month of the school year that will highlight different aspects of the BLM at School movement

 >> Learn more and get involved

60-Second Civics Series to Encourage Voting

The Center for Civic Education has launched a nationwide initiative to focus its signature daily program, 60-Second Civics, on the right to vote in the weeks leading up to the November 3 national elections. Each day, 60-Second Civics will feature a podcast focused on voting, elections and representation and how those rights are protected under the Constitution.

“At the Center for Civic Education, we believe it is critical to ensure that all people have access to civics lessons that speak to our moment and bring to life constitutional principles like the power of voting,” said President Christopher R. Riano. “The ballot box is the cornerstone of our democracy, and I encourage every American to exercise our most fundamental right this year.”

60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nations government, the Constitution and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines and the people and ideas that formed our nations history.

Each 60-Second Civics podcast episode will be accompanied by a Daily Civics Quiz, which teachers can use with the podcast as a warmup activity at the start of their history, government or social studies classes. The podcast will also include an audiogram, which is a captioned video animation of each episode. You can find the entire 60-Second Civics playlist on YouTube and a playlist devoted to this special series. You can also follow @60SecondCivics on Twitter, where we will be posting audiograms daily.

Quick Links:

Online Course – In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis

Amnesty International USA is now providing a new online advocacy course! In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis based on their report of the same name that examines how all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation.

“The U.S. government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands.”

Acknowledging the decades of work by impacted communities and activists, the report and the course aim to support those efforts by placing the problem of gun violence in the framework of universally recognized human rights, and offering solutions within that framework that the U.S. should adopt to address the crisis.The course contains 4 modules for you to complete at your own pace (approximately 90 minutes). By the end of this course, the user will understand the framework for why gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights violation and what needs to change!  A course certificate will be provided upon completion.

 >> Access course
 >> Read full report

Your Vote, Your Voice 2020

HRE USA leaders and partners have come together to encourage everyone to make sure their voice is heard and exercise their civic right to vote this November! To further engage students around voting and participation in government, we have compiled a rich collection of Get Out The Vote student-centered resources, programs, and projects. These resources can be used to create a service-driven civic learning activity or, can be inserted into ongoing social and civic education projects. 

Exercise your right to vote this November and encourage your students to help get out the vote!

>> Learn more

Advance Voting Rights

August 6 was the 55th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Voting Rights Act, key portions of which were invalidated in 2013 by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder. Recent primary elections in Wisconsin and Georgia were riddled with problems—polling place closures, long lines with hours-long waits, unfulfilled absentee ballot requests, and machine breakdowns—that could have been avoided if we had the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), a direct response to Shelby v. Holder, was recently reintroduced as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Lewis, the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, helped lead the historic 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, that led to the passage and signing of the Voting Rights Act. The House passed the VRAA in December 2019, after a dozen hearings documenting the continued persistence of racial discrimination in voting. Now, it’s up to the Senate. 

Contact your senators and tell them to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

 >> Take Action

Future Voters Project: New Resources for Teaching the Election

Right now is a critical time for fostering civic action and understanding in our youth.  To that end, Teaching Tolerance has created brand-new resources as part of their Future Voters Project! Check out the project to explore their new voter suppression lesson bank and review their recommendations for leading safe, inclusive voter registration drives. Sign up to receive updates every Thursday until November with new and recommended resources for registering future voters, learning about voting rights and voter suppression, and leading discussions about the 2020 election.

>> Learn more