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« It's The War, Stupid | Main | Slow Motion Disasters: Just As Devastating »

Give Civil Rights a Face

By Ally Klimkoski
May 11, 2008

I was tipped off to this outstanding video from a friend who went to the same high school as the kid who did this video. Justin Benefiel is an 18 year old senior at Yukon High School in Yukon, OK, and will be attending NYU in the fall. He only recently moved to Oklahoma. Where did he live before but our own Leavenworth, KS.

While living in Leavenworth, Justin saw the school's gay/straight alliance and a teacher accused of pushing homosexuality onto students. The school board got involved. Amusingly enough, Leavenworth, Kansas is the hometown of my favorite singer Ms. Melissa Etheridge. (Can't be a real Kansan without giving props to Melissa.)

Justin made this film to educate the public about tolerance, which he says he "believe is losing its identity in today's society."

The contest had over 400 applicants of which Justin is in the final round of 40 people.

Film Your Issue an "issue film" competition, with partners including USA TODAY, The United Nations, The Associated Press, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The NAACP, The Humane Society of the United States, MTV, MySpace and the American Film Institute -- as well as a roster of American leaders led by Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw.

FYI - Film Your Issue invites all 14-24 years old globally to add their voice on pressing social issues to the public dialogue, using the power of the internet and User Generated Content. More than 25 million high school and college students in the U.S. alone -- as well all young adults outside the U.S. - are invited to create and upload films up to 2 minutes on issues that impact their generation. In addition to taking the pulse of young adults on issues, FYI - Film Your Issue underscores how even an individual voice can influence public debate.

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