The GRAMMY Museum and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) announced a new partnership to launch the Speak Up Sing Out: Songs of Conscience Speak Truth To Power Music Contest. The contest, building on the Speak Truth To Power video contest for middle school and high school students, is designed to expand young people’s understanding of basic human rights and to encourage them to take action.

The music contest will challenge students to write songs based on social justice issues using materials from the RFK Center’s Speak Truth To Power curriculum, which covers more than 100 social justice themes from around the world, and the GRAMMY Museum’s Civil Rights curriculum, which discusses the impact of music and musicians on the Civil Rights Movement. Top songs will be judged by RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy, GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, and others. 

By writing songs about human rights and social justice students can learn how to create change through music. Music can be a powerful tool in the effort to raise awareness and encourage action.

- Kerry Kennedy

Speak Up Sing Out: Songs of Conscience begins fall 2014 in Los Angeles as a pilot program with the launch of the music contest website, and expand to a national audience in 2015. The GRAMMY Museum will provide professional development opportunities to educators and will use its extensive nationwide network to also showcase the music contest winners. During the pilot year, the student winner will attend a behind-the-scenes event at the GRAMMY Museum during the week leading up to the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015. The winner will also receive VIP passes to a Speak Up Sing Out launch concert scheduled for April of 2015 in Los Angeles.

We are thrilled to be partnering with the RFK Center on this wonderful, educational initiative. The contest will encourage students to use their voice for social change while teaching them about those who have done it before.

- Bob Santelli

The contest builds upon the RFK Center's Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum, which is taught to more than a million students each year in schools across the United States and around the world.

The human rights curriculum, which includes over 40 teacher-developed lesson plans for students in grades 6–12, is based on Kerry Kennedy's book, Speak Truth To Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing the World.