Speak up, sing out
Ending human rights abuses through music

In partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights launched the annual Speak Up, Sing Out! Music Contest, calling on students in grades 6-12 to write original songs that take a stand against human rights abuses around the world. Since its inception, the contest has inspired young people to see music as a vehicle for change, to creatively engage with the world around them, and to show the world that their words and ideas matter. 

The contest winner will perform their song at a GRAMMY-related event, or virtual arts event. 

Submissions are judged by a panel of music industry professionals who have worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson.

2022 Panel of Judges: COMING SOON! 

Deadline: May 11th, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT

Questions? Email sttp@rfkhumanrights.org


1. Check out previous contest winners, and listen to other songs about social justice issues to get a sense of messaging and song structure. 

2. Think about human rights issues you feel strongly about. What do you want the audience to learn or walk away with after hearing your song? If you need some inspiration, learn about our STTP Defenders, have a look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or think about human rights abuses you’ve witnessed in your own life. 

3. Have a look at our resources to learn how to write an original song.

4. Follow the Contest Guidelines below:

    • Submission can be in any genre
    • Submissions must be an original student composition
    • Submission must be performed by the student songwriter(s)
    • The song may be performed a cappella or with accompaniment
    • The song must demonstrate positivity and not victimization

5. Remember, no matter how old you are, you have a voice!

6. Submit your song HERE