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Final Whistleblower TEDx Talk from Historic TEDx Willmington Salon Released on International Human Right's Day

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Whistleblower Summit Salutes Human Right's Day

TED released the final video from a Historic TEDx Salon on Whistleblowers and the First Amendment hosted by TEDx Wilmington on Human Rights Day. Marcel Reid is the co-organizer of the Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights and her passionate talk about whistleblowers and hope completes the array of seven inspirational and provocative TEDx Talks.

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I am grateful and excited by the opportunity to give a TED Talk and participant in this vibrant community. My name is Michael McCray and I am a whistleblower and public interest advocate. I was first introduced to the TED concept two years ago when one of the awardees at an annual conference I host suggested that I should consider doing a TED Talk about whistleblowers. My response was simply "who is TED and what do we have to talk about?" And that moment started me on my journey to TED.

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First I had to do a little research and figure out just what TED was all about" "Technology, Entertainment and Design" and more importantly to recognize that it is a global movement centered on "ideas worth sharing" as an organizing concept. The conference that I organize in Washington, DC is called the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights, and it is the largest and most prestigious whistleblower conference on Capitol Hill.

The person who suggested that I should do a TED Talk was Sharyl Attkisson. She is a very courageous investigative reporter / journalist whom we decided to honor with our prestigious Pillar Award for Human Rights. Sharyl was so impressed by the work that we were doing with Whistleblowers and Journalists that she felt like TED would be a wonderful platform to tell the world about our advocacy.

The more I learned about TED, the more that I believed Sharyl's assessment was correct--I should do a TED Talk! But how do you begin? The following year passed and I had not made any significant progress towards this goal. I was giving a short presentation about my whistleblower journey at a conference in Pennsylvania last fall. There were a total of about 45 to 50 people who made short presentations at this event. After which, I was approached and would I be interested in participating in a TED Talk? My immediate answer was an emphatic--heck YES.

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As we talked about the opportunity for me to do my TEDx Talk, I described the Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human rights and describe all of the wonderful and courageous whistleblowers and advocates that I have meet over the years. So I proposed that the Whistleblower Summit could provide speakers and sponsors for a TEDx Salon on Whistleblowers and The First Amendment to be held on National Whistleblowers Appreciation Day--July 30, 2016.

When I first started thinking about giving a TED Talk I wide eyed and felt like gee how am I going to fill up 18 minuets? But after I started working on my initial draft, compiled stories and made my outlines--now I fell like man, how am I going to fit all of this in 18 minutes. But I guess that is a good problem to have" So far preparing for TED has been an awesome experience, I'm reading books and articles and learning a new skill called "Presentation Literacy."

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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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