Press Release 2.28.01

For immediate release
For more information, contact:     

Kathy Rowan 704.541.7529 or

Stephanie Ansaldo 704.347.3844



February 28, 2001 (Charlotte, NC) – More than 600 students and teachers from Charlotte area high schools are participating in a dialogue with human rights activist Kerry Kennedy Cuomo at 1 p.m. at Zebulon B. Vance High School .  Kennedy Cuomo, daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, will talk about global human rights concerns and the impact young people can make with a broader understanding and awareness of these struggles.

    Harry Wu, Chinese dissident and Echo International Advisory Board Member, will introduce Ms. Kennedy Cuomo at the Student Dialogue.  Moderated by Echo President Stephanie G. Ansaldo, the Dialogue will spotlight Kennedy Cuomo’s ongoing crusade for human rights, inspired by her father’s work and further fueled by her 1981 college internship at Amnesty International.  Since then, Kennedy Cuomo has led more than 40 human rights delegations to over 30 countries.  She is also the founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center of Human Rights in Washington, DC and has recently published the book, Speak Truth to Power, which portrays 51 human rights defenders.

    Echo Board Chair Joan Zimmerman says she hopes the students who hear Kennedy Cuomo’s message will leave with a greater awareness of human rights abuses, and an understanding that we all have a moral obligation to speak out and take action for fellow human beings who suffer — whether in our own country or in a distant land.

    Kennedy Cuomo’s Charlotte visit is sponsored by The Echo Foundation, to promote student awareness of ongoing human rights concerns across the globe and to teach respect and tolerance for all humankind.  As part of this educational program — The Kerry Kennedy Cuomo Project — Echo Foundation volunteers students and local educators have organized programs for the Charlotte community including high school writing and art competitions, curriculum materials for educators, and a student/teacher Tolerance Day.

    “The writing competition is an example of The Echo Foundation’s commitment to engage students in meaningful learning opportunities that prompt them to explore their moral convictions, while expanding their knowledge of the human suffering that exists in our world,” says Echo Foundation President Stephanie Ansaldo.  Students were asked to respond with their opinion to the question, “Why should people who aren’t directly affected by human rights abuses take action to address them?”  Echo Trustee Greg Norwood will award the 1st ($250), 2nd ($125), and 3rd ($50) – place student winners at the dialogue.  He will also announce the winner of the art competition ($250 award) whose work will be featured on the cover of The Kerry Kennedy Cuomo Project Documentary.

    Student interns and local producers are collaborating on the development of the educational documentary about Kennedy Cuomo’s dialogue and Charlotte visit, which will be shared with schools nationwide at a later date.  Emmy Award winning producer Stuart Grasberg, senior producer/writer at public television station WTVI is directing this project. 

    The Echo Foundation was founded in 1997 by Stephanie Ansaldo to carry on the message that Nobel Peace laureate and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel brought to Charlotte – a call to action for human dignity, justice and moral courage.