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Special Project

Special Project
From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Speak Truth to Power

Finalist in Social Justice


In August 2018, RFK Human Rights and Discovery Education launched Speak Truth to Power, a human rights education initiative that ignites the national dialogue about what it means to be a 21st century solution-seeker and human rights defender. This program inspires students and teachers to think globally and prepare them to help prevent human rights abuses and violations across the world. Human rights education builds awareness, empathy and understanding of the basic rights shared by all people. But every day, people around the world have their rights violated – by invading armies, their own governments or even their families. Speak Truth to Power helps students both engage with the issue of human rights and recognize the power they have to make a difference. The comprehensive educational suite from RFK Human Rights contains standards-aligned digital resources, video vignettes, biographies and classroom activities to give educators the tools to engage and inspire the next generation of human rights defenders.

Strategy and Execution

Speak Truth to Power invites students to engage with activists’ first-hand accounts of human rights violations and the journeys they have taken to create positive change. The program uses interactive videos and activities to prompt students to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has survived a serious human rights violation. Students are then encouraged to create solutions for human rights issues they face, or see others face, through conversations with their peers. Speak Truth to Power drives home the role that students have in building a better world, so that classroom discussions can become actionable, real-world strategies for improving human rights globally.

Speak Truth to Power offers immersive educational experiences and unique, multi-platform online learning tools including:

Together, the Speak Truth to Power program offerings provide a unique opportunity for students to experience human rights journeys – from violation to solution – and through awareness, discourse and advocacy, expand the circle of human rights defenders.

In addition to providing online video and curriculum materials accessible from any internet-enabled device, Speak Truth to Power hosted a Virtual Field Trip available via video in classrooms across America. For the Present and the Future: A Conversation on Human Rights gives students a front-row seat to conversations about meaningful solutions to human rights violations around the world between leading activists including Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Kailash Van Jones, social entrepreneur and CNN political contributor; and Jazz Jennings, LGBTQ rights activist and star of TLC’s I am Jazz.

Educators, parents, students and advocacy communities were also able register for the conversation on Human Rights, so that learning could continue outside of the classroom. Viewers were also encouraged to join @DiscoveryEd, @RFKHumanRights and other experts for a LIVE Twitter chat during the premiere of the Virtual Field Trip using #SpeakTruthtoPowerVFT. More than 124,000 tuned in for the live Virtual Field Trip debut in December 2018.


To date, Speak Power to Truth has reached more than 381,000 students. Educators have downloaded classroom activities and educator guides more than 4,300 times.

From August 2018 through early 2019, 257,000 students have engaged with the program. As the program continues to gain traction in educational settings, Speak Truth to Power remains committed to developing constructive materials for students and teachers to explore human rights journeys and develop preventative solutions going forward.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Discovery Education


Entry Credits