Winners Honored at the Award Ceremony for the  

Youth Against Race, Class, and Place Disparities Video Contest


by Amanda Traaseth, HRC Intern


            From the Spring of 2010 until the Spring of 2011, the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center ran the Youth Against Race, Class, and Place Disparities Video Contest.  Students from around the Twin Cities area participated in the creative contest, aimed at calling attention to what students think about the human rights and social justice, as well as encouraging dialogue on disparities in the Twin Cities area. The students had the task of explaining what they see as race, class, and place disparity problems, and then were charged with addressing what they saw as possible solutions to these problems.  The contest prizes included digital cameras for all of the winning groups, as well as a $100 cash prize to the contestants who won the award for "Most Innovative Youth Action." All of the videos submitted were very creative and insightful.Our contestants truly put their hearts and minds into their projects, and we had a lot of fun watching them here at the Human Rights Center.

            On February 4th, 2011 the award ceremony for the video contest winners took place at the University of Minnesota Law School, and it was attended by many of the contestants and their family and friends.  There was also a surprise visit from Representative Keith Ellison, who congratulated the students and encouraged them to keep promoting social justice.  The awards were presented by Daniel Bergin, the Senior Producer from the Twin Cities Public Television.  Four awards were presented, including The Most Innovative Youth Action, Best Quality Production, Most Original and Creative Presentation, and Most Compelling and Clear Message Award. 

The Most Innovative and Best Quality awards were given to "Perception," produced by Henry Vo, Connor Larson, Matthew Daranikene, Jasmine Nguyen, SamHerold, Cathrine Keophanboua, Gary Saenvilay, Susan Sisomnuk, Gorald Edward Jr., and other students with support from the Lao Assistance Center. Their film "Perception" was a silent film about preconceived notions and stereotypes that people carry toward youth amd individuals of difference racial identities.  It follows two young men in a store, one a white male and the other a black male, and questions the stereotypes of crime. 

The award for Most Original and Creative Presentation was given to "The Human Rights Music Video," produced by Produced by Isaac Flomo and Wesley Johnson.The duo performed a rap that highlighted how "our generation can make a change" and encouraged everyone to look past racial and class ideas.  It also brought to light the need for education to be in the forefront of social change and justice. 

The award for Most Compelling and Clear Message went to two films, "Ster-eo-type" and "7th Generation."The first film, "Ster-eo-type" was produced by Michelle LeGarde, Fransisco Solis-Noyola, Lorraine Lufkins, and other students from the South High All Nations Program.   The film portrayed various stereotypes assigned to the Native American population and concluded by calling for action to end the negative perceptions. The other film, "7th Generation" was produced by Wicaphi Cavanaugh, Keenan Thomas, Arien Monroe, and other students from the South High All Nations Program.  The film began with a spoken word performance by one of the participants, Wicaphi Cavanaugh, and continued with a few questions posed about Native American history, and an assessment of how racism can be stopped in a community.  All of the films depicted very real issues in our communities and suggested possible solutions to these challenges.

After the presentation of the awards, there was a "Meet the Producer" session that was lead by Daniel Bergin.  Mr. Bergin shared insights about his work and offered tips and advice for student's eager in pursuing their interests in filmmaking and media.

The Best Buy Children's Foundation sponsored this contest and we are very grateful for their support through this initiative.

The Race, Class, and Place Disparities Video Contest was a great success and all of the students who participated deserve a round of applause.  We look forward to holding another contest again!


              Watch the winning videos here:



 "Human Rights Music Video" 


 "7th Generation"