Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Rating: 4.75 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Children & Youth, International

Location: 1300 19th Street NW, Suite 750 Washington DC 20036 USA

Mission: The Robert F. Kennedy Center continues his mission through domestic and international programs that help the disadvantaged and oppressed and that recognize, train and support our next generation of leaders.
Results: Educating and Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders: In 2010, the RFK Center partnered with the New York State United Teachers to launch an online human rights curriculum (Speak Truth To Power/STTP) with 31 teacher-developed lesson plans. “…in every child, is the potential for greatness…” – Robert F. Kennedy, 1965 Connecting Great Achievement with Great Potential: In late 2011, the RFK Center partnered with Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union to create 16 new human rights lessons based on Nobel Peace Prize winners. In April 2012, the Nobel Peace Prize winners fanned out across the city, visiting 17 schools in Chicago that included STTP as part of their curriculum. Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders: In 2012 and 2013, the RFK Center will work with the Washington College of Law to create a training seminar program for law school students to teach high school students about human rights. High school students will learn empathy, tolerance, and discover valuable role models. Law students will gain experience and training to better translate rights-based concepts to a diverse audience. LGBTI Rights in Uganda: The RFK Center held meetings with members of Congress regarding LGBTI rights in Uganda. Congressman Barney Frank helped arrange an official meeting between a member of the Ugandan Parliament and one of Uganda’s only openly gay activists: Mr. Frank Mugisha. In 2011, the RFK Center partnered with Uganda activists to convince key Kenyan legal organizations to end their silence and speak out against the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Success in keeping funds available for the Gulf Coast: The RFK Center helped hundreds of New Orleans residents travel to the District of Columbia in 2006 to protest announcements that federal disaster recovery funding would soon end. Attendees met with government officials; the federal recovery funding was reinstated. Zimbabwe: Despite the Zimbabwe Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld their right to assembly, police have continued to arrest and harass members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). The RFK Center will assist WOZA in filing a petition to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). Recently, the RFK Center secured a $10,000 U.S. State Department grant to provide security and a new office for WOZA. In addition, the RFK Center will help digitize WOZA’s extensive handwritten archives. Advocacy: The RFK Center continues to urge the UN to include human rights monitoring in its Western Sahara mandate. In 2010, staff members helped gather an international coalition to file a written submission to Morocco’s Universal Periodic Review. The RFK Center brought Aminatou Haidar to the U.S. where she met with members of the United Nations and the U.S. government in preparation for the vote on the mandate’s renewal. In June 2012, the RFK Center presented its submission to the Council in Geneva. In August 2012, Kerry Kennedy led a delegation of human rights experts to Western Sahara and Morocco. The media attention given to this mission resulted in several attempts to tamper with our website, traced back to Morocco, and a threat of kidnapping Ms. Kennedy (not substantiated). Global advocacy efforts: Through the RFK Center’s persistent advocacy work, the U.S. State Department has called on the Dominican Republic government to end these discriminatory policies. The U.S. State Department has consulted with the RFK Center, created a federal working group, and empowered the UNHRC to open a field office in the country. Organizing: Since 2007, the RFK Center has led a coalition of U.S.-based human rights groups working on nationality and migration rights issues in the Dominican Republic and arranged several congressional briefings, monitoring trips, and conferences. Most recently, the October 2011 Dominican Republic advocacy week enabled the U.S. government to demonstrate its public support to the cause and encourage the Dominican government to open a productive dialogue with the RFK Center’s coalition. Cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú: The RFK Center works to pressure the Mexico government to transfer cases of military abuse of citizens into civilian court. In 2011, two cases such cases were successfully transferred to the civilian Attorney General’s office. In both of these cases women were raped and tortured by soldiers; the cases had languished in military jurisdiction for almost a decade. RFK Center secured a precedent-setting decision by Mexico’s supreme court giving victims of military violence the right to try their cases in civilian court. Press coverage: The RFK Center uses its resources to bring substantial press coverage to Tlachinollan’s emblematic cases and arrange regular delegations to the area led by Kerry Kennedy. Protection: The RFK Center pressures the state government to ensure basic protections for Tlachinollan’s work. We helped restore an office that had been closed since 2009 following to the murders of two indigenous defenders and attracted representatives from numerous embassies and NGOs to the opening. We organized the state government to provide police protection for the office during business hours. Release from arrest: The RFK Center intervened when Mixtec human rights defender Maximino Garcia Catarino was arbitrarily imprisoned and subjected to false charges in 2012. In response to our campaign, Maximino was granted unconditional release by a Guerrero tribunal after two months of detention.
Programs: The RFK Center has a successful history of collaborations with NGOs, universities, legal clinics, and the media on behalf of oppressed communities. It has six programs, whose goals are: o To create genuine partnerships with courageous human right activists around the world and help them achieve their goals over a six-year period (Partners for Human Rights) o To create change by introducing students an innovative curriculum, based on courageous human rights defenders, now used by over 500,000 students worldwide (Speak Truth To Power) o To work with fiduciaries and investors to factor human rights, environmental degradation, and governance (like corruption) concerns into their calculation of risk (Compass) o To support investigative journalists and authors who bring light to injustice (RFK Book and Journalism Awards) o To develop a presence in Europe for advocacy, STTP, and human rights training (RFK Europe) o To help develop effective policy for adjudicated youth transitioning to freedom (Juvenile Justice Program)
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

More Info

EIN 13-2522784
202-463-7575
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

The RFK Center is a vibrant and active organization that is making real changes in poeple's lives around the world. Their focus on education and action is accurate and effective. I have worked with the RFK Center for the past two years on their Speak Truth to Power curriculum. I wrote the elementary curriculum for Speak Truth to Power and worked with several members of the organization. I am a kindergarten teacher at The Hewitt School and we served as the pilot school for the new curriculum last year. Now I am working with teachers from other schools, and educators from the RFK Center, to spread the word and get human rights education into K-3 schools around the world!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am delighted to offer comments and my wholehearted endorsement for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and especially the work on curriculum about human rights defenders, Speak Truth to Power. STTP is an initiative and curriculum the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights developed in collaboration with my union, the New York State United Teachers. The curriculum introduces students from elementary to high school to the field of human rights and human rights issues. It does so through the stories of courageous women and men from around the world who defend those very rights, giving voice to the voiceless from the most remote regions of the globe to the heavily populated urban centers right here in the United States.The Speak Truth to Power lessons provide a rich curriculum aligned with rigorous common core learning standards. Parhaps most importantly, the lessons provide opportunities for students to submit their own ideas and make their own judgments about the world around them. The lessons' focus on practice encourages young minds to see how they, too, can take action and become defenders in their own right. The universality of the defenders engages students from all socio-economic backgrounds and provides examples of how people in desperate circumstances have empowered themselves and others to speak up and speak out.
This commitment to educate the next generation of human rights defenders lifts the RFKCJHR above many other worthwhile advocates by understanding and making part of its mission passing on the obligation to defend those who advocate for social justice and, yes, when necessary, speaking truth to power even in the face of tyranny and personal danger. The record demonstrates that, led by President Kerry Kennedy, the center is willing to travel to places of great danger to expose human rights violations and to defend those who speak out against oppression and the denial of basic human rights. Taking this to the next step by educating future generations is indeed a continuation of Robert F. Kennedy's understanding that educating our youth is the greatest weapon in defense of social justice. As a board member, partner and witness to its work, I know that the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is truly a gift to those who advocate for and defend justice throughout the world.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
profile
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Vera Stremkovskaya, I am human right defender from Belarus, who lives now in Sweden. I am one of the human rights defenders fI took part in many events of the STTP, as well as presentation of the book in USA and Qatar, exhibitions of the portraits and educational program of the RKF in Europe, Italy that year, as a speaker. I think the activity of the RKF is very important, and mostly in a field of the promotion and defending human rights in the world. After the information about human right defenders and there praktikal experiences was collected and summarized in the book, very important to share that information now with everybody who working ore study in a field of human rights. There for I was make the exibition from the book and infromation about RFK and STTP on the day of the human right in Göteborg that year, on September 8, 2012, and I will continue to share that information throught the exibition about STTP and RKF in the Hissingen Lbrary in Göteborg from the november 13, 2012. I am very much appreciate the RKF office in Washington, and RKF office in Europe for there help with the organisations of that programs and exibition, with the matherials they had sent to me and all information I was provided by them. I am very much happy to participate in a STTP and RKF programs in Sweden, as well as presentation of the book which will be in October 26 in Stockholm and the Bingolotto event for human rights and STTP in May 2012., in Stockholm. I think it is very important activity. And I am glad i can take part in that activity now. I enclose a few photos from our exibition in Göteborg, on October 8, 2012, with the collegues from the Cultural department of the lundby city Göteborg, and more photos from the educational program on May 2012 in Italy, RKF in Europa, and STTP and Bingolotto event in Stockholm on May 2012.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a career educator, I've long held the belief that a fundamental goal of schooling should be to develop within students an understanding of human rights and the inspiration to take action toward assuring social justice for all. In aiming to fulfill that goal as the Superintendent of Schools of a school district in suburban NYC, I found a powerful partner in the RFK Center's remarkable 'Speak Truth to Power' program. Reflecting RFK's deep passion and relentless drive toward defending the rights of others, STTP - the book, play and lesson plans - profoundly transforms students' view of the world and inspires them towards social activism. Simply stated, it changes lives!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My first Experience with the RFK Center is when I worked on a RFK curriculum project through my State teachers union--New York State United Teachers. Of all the big ideas that can be taught in social studies, one could argue that teaching students to value each other as human beings is perhaps the most important. Whether it is in appreciating diversity, understanding our shared humanity, or seeing that civilization is fragile, this concept is at the heart of who we are as a society and as educators. The RFK center understands this and provides outstanding human rights resources and opportunities for educators though the Speak Truth To Power program.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My first RFK Center volunteer experience was soon after the Tiananmen Square crack down. The Center helped organize one of the largest demonstrations outside the Chinese Embassy. Juggling many interests and concerns, the Center helped pulled together not only a large demo but one that was on message and clear regarding human rights. From that point on, I have always looked for ways to partner and/or volunteer with the center. One opportunity that came my way was to help develop the Center's human rights education program, Speak Truth To Power - this experience has been amazing, transformative and at times a little challenging. The RFK Center does so much, touches on so many issues that at times it can be a little overwhelming but in the end, the work is important and someone has lead the way.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful?