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Whistleblowers "LEAP" onto Capitol Hill to Salute Black Lives Matter at Annual Whistle Blower Summit

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Over the last nine years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. Whistleblowers and their advocates from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill to convene this three-day event, which features Plenary Session, Workshops and Panel Discussions, Press Conference, Whistle Blower Book Signing and Film Screening, Whistleblower Appreciation Day Luncheon and Welcome Reception, Pillar Awards Presentations, and Solidarity Dinner.



Whistle Blower Summit Civil Human Rights by Michael McCray

ACORN 8 and conference host committee members--Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year's Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights in Washington, DC on July 29-31, 2015. Additionally, the National Whistleblower Center will host a National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Luncheon on Capitol Hill to commemorate the passage of the first whistleblower protection law by the Continental Congress in 1778.

The Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & 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. The Whistle Blower Summit is a three-day conference that runs from July 29-31, 2015 and celebrates National Whistleblower Appreciation Day (July 30, 2015), with particular emphasis on Civil Rights issues on July 31, 2015. In the past, we have provided an outlet for whistle-blower stories before the traditional civil rights organizations or mainstream media outlets picked up on them. For instance, the Jena 6 came to our whistleblower conference at Rice University (Houston, Texas) six months before that story exploded on Black radio across America.

Black Men, Women and Children are all at risk to arbitrary execution by the hands of the people who are sworn to serve and protect us. We have learned that you are never to young or never to old to be murdered by the police; from 12 year-old Tamir Rice (Cleveland, OH) to 107 year-old Monroe Isadore (Pine Bluff, AR). Beginning in Sanford, Florida to most recently Baltimore, Maryland--America has witnessed the execution of hundreds Black people by the hands of the police. But the protests sparked after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri seem to have ignited the next leg of the Civil Rights Movement.

In the words of Gil Scott Heron, "the revolution will not be televised"--but it will be Tweeted on social media. Thus, this year's conference theme is "Black Lives Matter--This Is The Movement!" Therefore, we are focusing on "Law Enforcement and Judicial Reform" this year. We have assembled an all-star cast of Police Whistleblowers and organizations who are willing to break the Blue Wall of Silence on Capitol Hill--including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice and Accountability (NCLEOJA).


Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg (retired) by Michael McCray

One important law enforcement whistleblower was Frank Wills. An African-American, 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. In addition to the Pillar Award for Human Rights, we are also proud to announce the "Frank Wills" Award for Unsung Heroes. This award is given to whistleblowers who suffer great tragedy and setbacks for speaking truth to power or otherwise doing the right thing. 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.

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Marcel Reid, President of ACORN 8 states, "As community organizers ourselves--we are happy to reach out to the next generation of activists, and proud to recognize and honor the Ferguson protestors who are the founders of Black Live Matters and their newsletter This Is The Movement."

Michael McCray adds, "The next generation of community organizer has arrived. Young people like Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson or Clifton Kinnie who will be attending Howard University next fall--young people who use social media to extraordinary effect; or Alderman Antonio French and Brittany Packnett who guide them."

Coalition for Change (C4C) and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF) 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 of the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) says, "The Whistle Blower 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."

Matthew Fogg, retired chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and member of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice and Accountability adds, "The Whistle Blower 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 Whistle Blower Summit for Civil and Human Rights is all about."

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Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff for Project Censored add "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."

For more information and/or to RSVP please visit www.WhistleBlowerSummit.com

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Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair of the (more...)
 

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