8.03.2021
Bangor High School Partners with RFK Human Rights to Launch New Speak Truth to Power Pilot Program

New York, NY (August 3, 2021)Bangor High School in Maine has partnered with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to launch its Speak Truth to Power pilot program, a first of its kind initiative to incorporate human rights education and enhance social-emotional learning opportunities in the school’s curriculum, practices, and culture.

The partnership—made possible by the generous support of the Maine-based Tramuto Foundation—not only provides Bangor teachers with professional training and development from the world-renowned Speak Truth to Power human rights education team at RFK Human Rights but assists the entire school in adopting systems and structures that cultivate an inclusive, dignity-driven learning environment.

Set to launch in Fall 2021, the Speak Truth to Power partnership was created with the goal of making the school as inclusive as possible—a place where students from all walks of life can thrive. Bangor High School has been strained by a series of events, like other parts of the nation, in recent years and the partnership will help to reduce the stressors of individual differences and embrace the true benefits of diversity. A recent investigation of racism in the school system yielded several recommendations from an independent counsel, and RFK Human Rights will be a strong asset in helping Bangor High School address the concerns.

The partnership is a substantial step toward a more inclusive culture and school climate that will proactively address the issues brought forth by these courageous students. Additionally, the partnership will employ a whole-school approach that will use human rights education as an umbrella strategy for social-emotional learning, addressing inclusivity in areas including race, gender, food insecurity, and individuals with disabilities.

“In Bangor, as in most communities, our schools can and should be a leading force for social progress,” said Adam Leach, director of guidance at Bangor High School. “I am very excited about our partnership with RFK Human Rights. They have the right people and connections to help us make a big jump forward with social-emotional learning. Using the human rights approach to SEL will help us address many current issues in our society, such as income inequality, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and mental health, with one unifying strategy.”

“Bringing human rights education and social-emotional wellbeing into schools is not a new concept but what’s refreshing and truly innovative about our partnership with Bangor High School is that these principles will be applied beyond the curriculum to impact the very culture and practices of the school itself,” said Karen Robinson, director of the Speak Truth to Power program at RFK Human Rights. “This comprehensive and unified approach is essential to creating the awareness, empathy, and understanding needed for progress and growth.”

BHS Principal Paul Butler shared, “The opportunity to partner with RFK Human Rights and to deepen our connection to the Tramuto Foundation emerged at just the right time for our school and has become an important part of our comprehensive response to the experiences shared by our students. The human rights lens has powerful potential to frame student and adult learning around fundamental, global, and enduring truths about belonging and connectedness. I am looking forward to helping the pilot unfold and our partnerships flourish.”

New Bangor Superintendent James Tager added, “I wholeheartedly support this partnership and appreciate the proactive stance for celebrating diversity that Dr. Leach and Principal Butler are embracing on behalf of students, families, faculty, staff, and the community.”

“The Tramuto Foundation was created 20 years ago to seek out individuals and organizations that are committed to making this world more compassionate, just and fair,” Donato Tramuto noted. “As a RFK Ripple of Hope laureate who has worked alongside this esteemed organization for many years, I am thrilled to help launch this important partnership with Bangor High School and to advance the opportunity to promote a more inclusive community.”

For more information on RFK Human Rights and its Speak Truth to Power human rights education program, visit RFKHumanRights.org


Bangor High School

Bangor High School is the only public high school in Bangor, Maine, receiving students from 7 elementary and 2 middle schools, as well as from several neighboring rural communities. With just over 1,100 students in grades 9-12, it is the largest high school in the region, and third largest, by student population in the State of Maine.

Bangor, Maine, is a rural service center with a population of approximately 32,000 people. It is home to government, housing, medical, retail, financial, transportation, communications, and entertainment services for a region of northern Maine that includes nearly 30,000 square miles and only 664,000 people. This puts the City of Bangor in the center of the second-most rural Congressional District in the entire United States.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
We are a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues—championing changemakers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice.

Tramuto Foundation
Since 2001, the Tramuto Foundation has helped tens of thousands of people realize the mission of creating a brighter future through student scholarships, as well as financial grants to organizations worldwide whose vision is to help right the wrong and make this world a better place for all. The Foundation has served as a voice in creating partnerships that have a sustainable and measurable impact in making the world more just and fair.  For more information on the Tramuto Foundation, visit tramutofoundation.com. 

Contact

Minhee Cho
Media Relations Manager
mcho@rfkhumanrights.org