Anonymous: Political Freedom

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Anonymous, ©2000 Eddie Adams


  • 6-12


  • Political Freedom, Women’s Rights, Water and Food

Additional Resources


  • Article 1: Right to Equality
  • Article 21 Right to Participate in Government and Free Elections


  • Minimum of 40 minutes; maximum of 120 minutes


  • How can students bring awareness to others on the issue of violations of human rights in Sudan?
  • How can students become defenders of human rights?


After this lesson, students will be able to

  • Connect the study of human rights in the past to the Defender named Anonymous.
  • Understand the dire condition of human rights in Sudan.
  • Become aware how ordinary citizens and students have made a difference fighting those abuses.
  • Be able to become human rights defenders.


  • Draw inferences and reach conclusions
  • Organize and interpret information;
  • Participate in group planning and discussion and cooperate to accomplish goals;
  • Create maps


  • Social Studies Standard 1: The History of the United States and New York
    • Intermediate KI 2 PI 2; KI 3PI 3; KI 4; PI 2,4
    • Commencement KI 2 PI 4, 5; KI 3 PI 2, 4
  • Social Studies Standard 2: World History
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 1, 2; KI 2 PI 1; KI 3 PI 2; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1, 5; KI 2 PI 3; KI 3 PI 1, 2; KI 4 PI 1, 2, 4
  • Social Studies Standard 3: Geography
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 1; KI2 PI 4
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1, 3, 4; KI 2 PI 4
  • Social Studies Standard 4: Economics
    • Intermediate KI 1 PI 1, 2; KI 2 PI 1, 4
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1, 2, 3; KI 2 PI 1, 4
  • Social Studies Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government
    • Intermediate KI 3 PI 1, 3; KI 4 PI 1
    • Commencement KI 1 PI 1; KI 3 PI 1; KI 4 PI 1, 5, 6
  • English Language Arts Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1, 4; Writing PI 1, 2, 4
    • Commencement Reading PI 1, 4, 5; Writing PI 1, 2, 4
  • English Language Arts Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1; Writing PI 1, 3
    • Commencement Writing PI 1, 3
  • English Language Arts Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1, 3, 4; Writing PI 1, 2
    • Commencement Reading PI 1, 2, 3; Writing PI 1, 2, 3
  • English Language Arts Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction
    • Intermediate Reading PI 1; Writing PI 2
    • Commencement Reading PI 1, 1; Writing PI 1, 2

NYS P-12 COMMON CORE LEARNING STANDARDS for ELA/Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12

  • RH/SS.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • RH/SS.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • WH/SS.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.
  • RH/SS.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • RH/SS .9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
  • WH/SS.9-10.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.
  • RH/SS.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • RH/SS.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • WH/SS.11-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.


  • Defender
  • Anonymous
  • Human rights
  • Sudan
  • Omar al-Bashir
  • Genocide


  • Human rights
  • Global citizenship
  • Justice
  • Government
  • Power
  • Individual responsibility


  • An LCD projector
  • Computer lab or laptop cart with Internet access



  • It is highly recommended and encouraged that the following lesson be used immediately after the study of one of these historical figures: Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. Doing so provides the vital historical context that makes the study of a current defender even more relevant.
  • To protect his/her safety, this defender’s Speak Truth to Power profile makes it intentionally unclear whether they are a woman or man, reinforced by the black hood.

Student Activities


  • After the study of one or more of the historical human rights figures mentioned in the Teacher Tips, show the profile of Harriet Tubman from the History Channel’s America: The Story of Us:


•Following the viewing of the excerpt, conduct a class discussion using the following:

  • What made Harriet Tubman so powerful?
  • How can she be a role model for us today?
  • Where might she be working for human freedom in our time?


  • Suggest to the students that, if she were alive, Tubman might be working today in the country of Sudan. Show the image of the defender Anonymous, as pictured on the cover of Speak Truth to Power. Begin a class discussion by asking the students if this defender is in some way a modern day Harriet Tubman.
  • The teacher will then show a map of the Sudan. (Link to the map) Inform the class that this is where the defender Anonymous lives and writes about the struggles in the Sudan.
  • Assign the students to read an excerpt on Anonymous, as taken from an interview with Kerry Kennedy in Speak Truth to Power.
  • Show students a photo of Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan. (Symbol for link to the Web site) Read to the students the biographical sketch of President al-Bashir
  • Either in a computer lab or with a few computers spread throughout the classroom as learning stations assign students to the computers.
  • Have the links to the Web sites available on the computers.
  • Instruct the students to watch several short videos on the issues that Anonymous described about human rights in Sudan.


You can choose to show all or some of the videos:

  • Women in South Sudan
  • The “Lost Boys” Refugees of Sudan
  • Acid Attacks on Sudanese Women
  • Sudanese Women Jailed for Wearing Pants
  • Genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan


After the teacher asks the students what their reactions to the videos were, they should end the discussion with the following questions:

  • What would Harriet Tubman do to address these situations?
  • How does helping Sudan help the cause of freedom around the world?
  • How does being anonymous help the defender?
  • Why do other defenders choose to be open about their identities?
  • Have you ever helped someone without taking credit? If so, how did you feel?
  • Have you helped someone who didn’t thank you? If so, how did you feel?
  • What does humility mean?
  • Can someone be anonymous and still speak truth to power?
  • Are most human rights defenders anonymous? Well known? In between?
  • Celebrities like Mia Farrow, George Clooney, Don Cheadle and others have taken up the cause of Sudan. How does celebrity help the cause?


  • For a short homework assignment, students can write a letter to Anonymous describing what they have learned about Sudan.
  • For a longer project, students can write poems, or create posters, brochures or websites on Sudan or Anonymous.

Become a Defender

  • Have a fundraiser for Sudan at your school. Examples are a spaghetti dinner, car wash, loose change drive, or battle of the bands. Make posters and advertise that proceeds will go towards helping the people of Sudan. Make sure that students have information available to participants on the issues of human rights violations in Sudan.
  • Create a Facebook page on the issue of defending human rights in Sudan and/or Darfur.
  • Plan a Fast-a-thon, Day of Silence, or Walking for Pledges event that attracts awareness to this cause.
  • Talk with your church, mosque, or synagogue about how they can become involved as well. Be prepared with steps on how to become actively engaged in defending human rights through the organizations you have studied in this lesson.
  • The Speak Truth to Power defender Anonymous chose to risk his or her life by speaking up for human rights in Sudan. The following four websites provide examples of students from a variety of backgrounds who have also reached out to in some way make that country a better place:
  • How would you become active in one of these organizations?


The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is sponsoring an annual contest honoring a student who submits the best advocacy activity based upon the lesson studied. A goal of the lesson is to instill into each student that one voice, one person can make monumental changes in the lives of many. Tell us how you “Became a Defender”!


  • A one-page summary of the advocacy activity
  • Digitized copies of materials that can be sent electronically
  • Photos of the activity (please include parental consent form)
  • A one-page summary of how the activity made a change in the lives of one person or many


  • A week long “virtual” internship at RFK Center
  • An opportunity to meet the defender through a SKYPE visit,
  • A visit from Kerry Kennedy or a defender to your school
  • A poster of a Speak Truth to Power Human Rights Defender
  • A donation of a signed copy of Speak Truth to Power for the school library

The application and instructions for entry can be downloaded here (link for materials)

The deadline for all applications is the third week in November.

The winning student and teacher will be notified by the last week of January.

Additional Resources

My Sister’s Keeper
My Sister’s Keeper is a women-led humanitarian organization that works to assist, protect and advocate for the women of southern Sudan.

Women for Women International
Women for Women International works to ensure women are healthy, sustain an income, are decision-makers, and have strong social networks and safety-nets, so that they are in a strong position to advocate for their rights.

United Nations Development Fund for Women
UNIFEM (part of UN Women) is the women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality.

The Enough Project is helping to build a permanent constituency to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.

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