By Michael McCray
USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, Coalition for Change, Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW/LEF) and Cause of Action Foundation join forces to support whistleblowers. Project Censored, Sharyl Attkisson former CBS Investigative Reporter, and Senator John Boozman to be honored at the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights co-hosted by ACORN 8 and Drum Major’s For Truth.
(Washington, D.C.) ACORN 8 will host and Drum Major’s for Truth (DM4T) will co-host this year’s Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights in Washington, D.C. Over the last eight years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, D.C. each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower’s Week. The Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights is unique because it seeks to bridge the gap between the traditional “whistleblower” organizations, and the modern civil rights and global human rights movements. This conference theme is—Is It Right?
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but we must take it because our conscience tells us that it is right.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Whistleblowers and their advocates from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill to convene this four-day event, which features Plenary Session, Workshops and Panel Discussions, Press Conference at the National Press Club, Whistleblower Book Signing and Film Screening, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Awards Luncheon and Welcome Reception, Pillar Awards Presentations, and Solidarity Dinner.
“Secrecy is a form of government regulation that has negative consequences for national interests. It obstructs government accountability and undermines an engaged electorate. Whistleblowers counteract secrecy, informing the public and holding officials responsible when their actions run contrary to fundamental democratic principles. In an era when corporate news media habitually ‘shoot the messenger,’ Project Censored affirms and amplifies the courageous efforts of whistleblowers to enlighten the public and protect our democracy.” —Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff for Project Censored
The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, Coalition for Change (C4C) and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW/LEF) and Cause of Action Foundation express solidarity for the upcoming event. We are excited by meetings to discuss Stakeholder Concerns with representatives from Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and also with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
Tanya Ward Jordan, Founder The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) says, “The Whistleblower Summit provides a productive venue for concerned “truth tellers” to unite in solidarity; to exchange vital information for the purpose of keeping Americans safe; and to explore ways to end the ravaging effects of unrestrained reprisal against employees.”
Patricia L. St. Clair, Assistant Director, Federal Sector Programs, (Training and Outreach Division) of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adds, “The renewing of the MOU between EEOC and OSC allows the agencies to continue its partnership of seeking to eradicate prohibited discrimination in personnel decisions in the federal workforce through joint enforcement and information sharing.”
Matthew Fogg, President of Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund and former Amnesty International Board of Directors adds, “The Whistleblower Summit is unique because it seeks to bridge the gap between the traditional whistleblower organizations, and the modern civil rights and global human rights movements. Freedom of Speech and Equal Rights, that is what the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights is all about.”
Lawrence Lucas, President of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees alleges, “We had hoped that USDA would act in good faith to bring justice and fairness to the civil rights process at USDA. However, after year-long conversations we have failed miserably in trying to bring positive change and progress in USDA’s civil rights process for USDA employees and minority farmers.
“The Veteran Administration and the Internal Revenue Service scandals should alert USDA that they cannot forever hide its sexism, racism and other abuses much longer from the America public. These widespread civil and human rights abuses cannot be hidden inside the walls at USDA forever. The Whistleblower Summit will focus on USDA and the way it treats it’s employees and customers, especially, Black farmers, and it’s failed civil rights process because of their unwillingness to change.”
The Whistleblower Summit is a four-day conference that runs from July 28-31, 2014 and celebrates National Whistleblower Appreciation Day (July 30, 2014), with particular emphasis on Civil Rights issues on July 31, 2014.
Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff will participate in the Whistleblower Book Signing and Documentary Film Screening of Project Censored The Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News at Teaching for Change’s Busboys and Poets on July 29, 2014. Determined to break the grip of Junk Food News on the American public, two California fathers uncover the true agenda of the corporate media while they investigate the importance of a free and independent press.
Daniel Ellsberg calls Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times, “a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connects the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.”
- James Holzrichter, A Just Cause.
- Zena Crenshaw, Examining the Vitality of Stare Decisis in America
- Michael McCray, ACORN 8: Race, Power & Politics.
- Tom Devine, The Whistleblowers Survival Guide.
- Marsha Coleman, Adebayo, No FEAR
- Eyal Press, Beautiful Souls.
- Jesselyn Raddick, Traitor.
- Stephen Kohn, The Whistleblower’s Handbook.
- Don Soeken, Don’t Kill The Whistleblower.
- Mike Volpe, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers.
- Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff, Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times
We recognized broadcaster/journalists with Pillar Awards last year; Rob Kall was recognized for OpEd News (New Media category) and a posthumous award went to Ambrose Lane (Journalist). Ambrose Lane was a noted Journalist, Author and Host of “We Ourselves” on WPFW. Project Censored and Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS Investigative Reporter, will be honored with the coveted Pillar Award for New Media and Journalism this year.
The Pillar is awarded to notable civil and human rights champions; previous recipients include Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). We are also proud to announce that Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Ronald Wyden (D-OR) were honored with a Pillar Human Rights Award for International Person’s of Conscience last year.
Additionally, Senator John Boozman will receive a Pillar Award this year due to his call for criminal prosecutions for “cooking the books” at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration. While we support federal workers rights and civil service protections, the whistleblower community believes that discipline and accountability is necessary when federal workers violate the law, and/or federal rules and regulations designed to protect the public.
We are also proud to announce the first “Frank Wills” Award for Unsung Heroes. This award is given to whistleblowers and others who suffer great tragedy and setbacks for speaking truth to power or otherwise doing the right thing. Frank Wills was the security guard who reported the break in at the Watergate Hotel that eventually brought down the Presidency of Richard Millhouse Nixon. Tragically, everyone benefited from the Watergate story, including the criminals—except Frank Wills who suffered retaliation and died destitute. This award honors his memory and highlights the tension between how whistleblowers are regularly used by media outlets but are then readily discarded when the news cycle ends.
This event is open to the public but please RSVP to attend the National Whistleblower Appreciation Awards Luncheon. For more information and/or to RSVP please visit www.WhistleblowerSummit.com
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i The MISC is as assortment of various public interest/advocacy groups including the ACORN 8, the Government Accountability Project, the International Association of Whistleblowers, the American Federation of Government Employees, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, the No FEAR Coalition, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Voices for Corporate Responsibility, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters. MISC members focus on significant areas of public concern and individual rights, such as First Amendment, federal workforce, medical safety, national security, judicial reform, etc.