This month, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Anderson Cooper, and Oprah have one thing in common:
they are all taking part in the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights' fifth annual online auction to support human rights worldwide. You can, too.
If you'd like to tour the Air and Space Museum with astronaut -senator John Glenn; if you'd like to dance and sing with Michelle and President Obama at the Christmas in Washington Ball; if you'd like your kids to take a swing as a bat boy or girl for the New York Yankees, log on to www.RFKCenter.org.
While the names of our sports stars and screen idols -- our cultural heroes -- are known to us all, across the world champions of moral courage, the Martin Luther Kings of their countries, are not widely recognized. Heroes such as:
Lucas Benitez, who co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee workers which has emancipated over 1,000 people from slavery over the past decade in South Carolina and Florida tomato fields;
Stephen Bradberry, the leader and community organizer from the Gulf Coast. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, city fathers planned to bulldoze one of the hardest hit neighborhoods and hand it over to a golf course developer or worse. Thanks to Steven's advocacy, residents were able to stop construction, return to their community, and rebuild their lives.
Abel Barrera Hernandez, under regular threat of death for documenting and exposing harassment, brutalization, rape, enforced disappearance, and murder committed by U.S.-backed Mexican military and state police forces against indigenous communities in Guerrero, Mexico. And, .
Magodonga Mahlangu, arrested over 30 times. She co-founded Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and empowered tens of thousands of women across her nation to demand their rights and hold corrupt government officials accountable for abuses.
The RFK Center has partnered with each of these heroes -- and with other courageous human rights defenders worldwide, to bolster their capacity to be effective in attaining their social justice goals. Through Speak Truth to Power, our 12-week course, we tell the stories of the defenders and teach students how to become defenders themselves.Funds raised by the auction will help realize Robert Kennedy's dream of a more just and peaceful world. He said:
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Support a defender. Make a difference. Send forth a ripple of hope. Log on www.rfkcenter.org
Kerry Kennedy is President of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights and Honorary Chair, RFK Europe.