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Robert F. Kennedy Center

Speak Truth To Power

Hero Image for Robert F. Kennedy Center

These portraits are of the bravest people on earth – human rights defenders who face imprisonment, torture and death in their struggle for basic rights most of us take for granted. But the people featured in these photographs are not victims – they are today’s heroes.

has been shown in over twenty cities in the United States and is now on tour on four continents

There are familiar names like Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Yet most of the defenders are unsung beyond their national boundaries. With few resources beyond their imaginations and a growing group of determined people to support them, a former slave from Ghana, a domestic violence activist from Russia, a mental disability rights advocate from Hungary, leading human rights lawyers from Pakistan, an environmentalist from Burma, an abolitionist from India, a former prisoner of conscience from Liberia and others forge ahead to create a more just and peaceful world.Speak Truth To Power began as a book written by human rights activist Kerry Kennedy with portraits of human rights defenders taken by the late Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Eddie Adams. The photography exhibit, launched in Washington, DC has been shown in over twenty cities in the United States and is now on tour on four continents. Renowned playwright Ariel Dorfman adapted the book into a dramatic production, Speak Truth To Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark, which premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center in 2000. It has since been produced across the United States and in cities around the world, including: Athens, Barcelona, Bucharest, Cape Town, Doha, Florence, Geneva, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, London, Madrid, Mantua, Milan, Monrovia, Rome, Seoul, Sydney and beyond.The Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum has been distributed to hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S., Europe and Africa. Featuring an introduction and history of international human rights, profiles of the actions and lives of courageous men and women, a script of the play and a tool kit for creating change, the education packets inform, engage and empower students to act. It has been translated to Swedish.Speak Truth To Power combines the power of arts and education to bring much-needed attention to continuing human rights abuses and to demonstrate the capacity of an individual to create change.The courage to take action and to change is within each and every one of us.Svenska PostkodLotteriet supports Speak Truth To Power in Sweden.

Photographs by Eddie Adams
Interviews by Kerry Kennedy