In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and the Tribeca Festival, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights created the annual Speak Truth to Power Video Contest, encouraging middle and high school students to use film as a tool to discuss human rights issues that resonate with them. In creating these short three- to five-minute videos, whether they be documentaries, narrative films, or experimental, students not only learn about human rights but also become champions of change and social justice. Students from all backgrounds can participate in the contest without needing expensive equipment or prior video editing skills.

This year’s Speak Truth to Power competition will include a new category for post-secondary students. College and university students are encouraged to submit a human rights based short film based on the RFK College Guidelines.

Winning films will be featured at a special showcase in conjunction with the annual Tribeca Festival event in New York City.

Submissions are judged by a panel of film industry experts, actors, and educators.

Contest submissions for the 2024 cycle are currently closed.

Questions? Email Benjamin Higgins at or Karen Robinson

Finalists will be invited to New York to participate in the Tribeca Film Festival, where their film will premiere at a special Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights event. The award winners will be announced at the film premiere. Winners will receive a certificate and a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights prize package.

Award Categories
  • Grand Prize
  • 1st Place
  • 2nd Place
  • 3rd Place
  • College Entry Award
Honorable Mention

25 films will receive honorable mentions, and the filmmakers and their teachers will receive RFK Human Rights T-shirts!

“Don’t Mess With Texas: An Abortion Story” by Ellison Leticia Martin, Qiu Li Tovo-Hurt, and Roswell Goransson at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Austin, Texas

“Guns Down, Arms Up” by Tohir Hodjakulov and Naba Sheikh of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, NY

“When Home is the Mouth of a Shark” by Rhianna Searle of George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania

“Fruits of Labor: The Exploitation of Farmworkers” by Kristen Wang of Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland

“Police Brutality: Opening Our Eyes to Injustice” by Sanchali Pothuru of Carmel High School in Indiana

“Rodney Glasgow: The Power of a Whisper” by students from the George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania

“Gary Tyler, My Neighbor” by Mwï Epalle and Ming-Wei Fasquelle of the International School of Los Angeles

“LGBTQ Rights in America” by Catherine Cramer, Bridget Neumann, and Veronica Ryan of Skaneateles High School in New York