Los Angeles, CA, December 19, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- On December 8, 2012, Pasadena High School’s chapter for Youth for Human Rights premiered its documentary “Finding Our Voice, Youth on the Educational Frontline”, in honor of the United Nations Human Rights Day. Amongst featured speakers at the Pasadena City College venue were Mayor Mr. Bill Bogaard, Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez as well as many community leaders and several foreign dignitaries from Pakistan and the Philippines. The premiere event highlighted the yearlong human rights leadership pilot and their effort with a team of Pasadena public high school student leaders.
The documentary portrays the frustrations and problems of education from the student’s view. While the leaders in education highlight the massive spending cuts as the cause of the problem, this group of high school students see a much deeper and problem at hand.
Marshall Fundamental Secondary School senior Khadejah Ray heads the group. “While my team members and I have benefited from the best that our public schools have to offer, we are really concerned that many, if not most, of the students enrolled just don’t seem to care about learning. This is the real crisis. If a young person sees no future by going to school, he or she is a prime candidate to drop out or, at best, to just barely get by,” Ms. Ray explains.
“We cannot just leave education to the experts,” adds Betty Ogba, a Marshall junior and the team’s deputy executive director. “We students must take responsibility as well. Too many of our fellow students don’t care about school.”
The student team were fortunate to enlist award-winning filmmakers Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir (http://www.dolcefilms.com), who took great interest in the project and devoted much time and energy to the team’s goal of creating a documentary film. While mentoring the students in the art of filmmaking, Lir and Bennett directed the Finding Our Voice documentary with a youth viewpoint that should help take the message viral and keep the momentum of this powerful message going.
Executive Producer Timothy Bowles states, “One of the biggest challenges has been how to condense so many remarkable hours of the students’ footage into a short piece. The whole team is really excited to see the audience’s response.”
Alpha Structural, Inc. (http://www.alphastructural.com) Founder and CEO, artist Dave Tourjé was excited to be part of the project given that his roots in revitalizing education don’t start here. Tourje co-founded the Chouinard Foundation and launched the first collaborative partnership in 2006 with the City of L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks to implement a unique art curriculum into the City’s inner-city recreation centers, reinforcing the dwindling art-related funding in the L.A. public school system. Tourjé quickly came on board as a Producer to support the Youth for Human Rights student team’s intention to make this documentary a conduit for youth leadership and human rights empowerment. “I was very happy and honored to be a part of this project and am thrilled to see how far the students are taking it,” said Tourjé.
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, an educator and philanthropist born and raised in Apartheid South Africa, where she witnessed, firsthand, the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights in the education sector.
The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Right and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. YHRI has now grown into an international movement, including hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters around the world and has changed the face of human rights in many countries where human rights were either non-existent or merely an idealistic dream.