On December 8, 2012, the Pasadena High Schools chapter for Youth for Human Rights will be premiering its documentary Finding Our Voice, Youth on the Educational Frontline, to honor United Nations Human Rights Day. Among the featured speakers at the Pasadena City College venue will be Mayor Mr. Bill Bogaard. This event will culminate the year-long human rights leadership pilot with a team of Pasadena public high school student leaders.
The film tells the story of education from the students’ perspective. While the experts point to the billions of dollars in public funding shortfalls and declining student proficiency rates, these high school team members see a deeper problem.
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,” 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.”
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, an educator born and raised in apartheid South Africa, where she witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights.
The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. YHRI has now grown into a global movement, including hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters around the world.