Summit Schedule

Welcome

Both the Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival are available to view on Film Festival Flix.

The Whistleblower Summit is FREE to attend but you must register.

Tickets for individual films during Whistleblower Film Festival are $19 each. We also offer All Access Passes for the Whistleblower Film Festival for are $149 each ($600 value). For Registration and Tickets go to Film Festival Flix

How to register for WSFF and create your Film Festival Flix account

SUMMIT PANELS

All panels will be available for viewing from their designated start time until August 1 at 11:59 pm EDT

How to access the live Zoom summit panel sessions

Sunday, July 25

12:00 pm Watergate Panel Discussion (Justice Integrity Project)

The 50th anniversary this year of the Pentagon Papers disclosure presents an opportunity for that episode’s leading whistleblower, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, to assess the disclosure’s historical significance, including its precedent-setting role enabling the revelations of the Watergate era, beginning in early 1972. Although the gist of the Pentagon Papers story is well known, Ellsberg, whose psychiatrist’s office was ransacked by Nixon operatives in a prelude to Watergate, may relish the opportunity to comment on later implications extending to the present. The second part of this panel has the potential to reveal to a broader audience; the deeply shrouded entire history of Watergate, including such fundamental questions as 1: Who ordered the break-in? 2) What were the burglars seeking specifically? 3) Why aren’t the answers to those questions better known?

Panelists:
Andrew Kreig (Moderator)
Barry Susman
Jim Hougan, former Harper’s Magazine Washington, DC Bureau Chief
John O'Connor, attorney for the late FBI executive and presumed Watergate “Deep Throat” Mark Felt

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

This is a video-taped panel presentation

Monday, July 26

10:00 am
Opening Plenary

The Opening Plenary is the formal welcome and introduction of the summit followed by brief remarks by the summit’s hosts, co-hosts and sponsors including the ACORN8, the Pacifica Foundation, the Justice Integrity Project, the Society of Professional Journalists, Project On Government Oversight, the Government Accountability Project, Public Citizen and the National Whistleblower Center.

Panelists:
Marcel Reid, Whistleblower Liaison for Pacifica Foundation
Michael McCray, ACORN 8
Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project,
Randy Showstack, Society of Professional Journalists, DC Chapter
Liz Hemperwitz, Project On Government Oversight
Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project
Siri Nelson, National Whistleblower Center

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

12:00 pmAn Introduction to the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds

The House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds is an independent and nonpartisan support office established to advise the House on best practices for working with whistleblowers from the public and private sectors. The Office’s staff will provide an overview of their services and discuss frequently asked questions. While the Office is not authorized to receive whistleblower disclosures, this session will also explore the Office’s publicly available resources that aim to facilitate safe and effective communications between whistleblowers and Congress, as well as other tools that may be of value to the whistleblower community.

Panelists:
Rachel Marshall (Moderator), Legislative Counsel
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) / Staff Contact for the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus
Shanna Devine, Director
Rebecca Jones, Deputy Director
John Whitty, Deputy Director of Operations
Heriberto Arambula, Outreach and Engagement Fellow

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

4:00 pmStudent Debt Crisis (Filmmakers Panel)

SALLIE MAE NOT is the first chapter in an untold story of how the U.S. government set up a system of greed that gutted student loans of consumer protections leading to the skyrocketing cost of tuition and indenturing millions through predatory lending. Alan Collinge, author of The Student Loan Scam, turned from scientist to activist when he was wrongfully thrown into default by Sallie Mae. In 2006 on 60 Minutes, Collinge warned how this same scheme continued to push millions of students, parents, and colleges over the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, no one paid much attention, and the predatory lending system designed to indenture millions, predominantly women and people of color, remains hiding in plain sight.
The filmmaker and cast offer an informative and politically diverse discussion about the story behind $1.7 trillion in U.S. student loans. Discussion topics to include: challenges and ongoing efforts facing whistleblowers; filmmaker’s journey to distribution, building community and strategy to return fair lending laws and consumer protections in an otherwise predatory lending system that has no brakes; the need for media to cover topic beyond the issue of whether to “cancel student loan debt.”

Panelists:
Michael McCray (Moderator), ACORN 8
Alan Collinge author of the book The Student Loan Scam, , founder StudentLoanJustice.org
Catherine A. Fitts – Former Sallie Mae Board Member, and Solari Report publisher
Jon Oberg – New York Times whistleblower on Department of Education lenders.
Mike Camoin, filmmaker, Sallie Mae Not

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please
click here. (See director statement tab)

5:30 pm Happy Hour (Hosted by Northeast Filmmakers Lab)

Virtual Happy Hour with the “Sallie Mae Not” Filmmakers hosted by Northeast Filmmakers Lab

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

Tuesday, July 27

11:00 amLaw Enforcement Whistleblowers (ACORN 8)

Though Congress is considering legislation to control police abuses, so far the proposals have skipped what is essential for reforms to make a difference: whistleblower protection. Without safe channels to bear witness, the new reforms may be an illusion. State reforms are also taking place, some of which represent the most sweeping law enforcement changes in the last 50 years. This dynamic panel explores law enforcement reforms with a whistleblower, public health and safety, mental health, and civil rights perspective. Panelists will include whistleblowers, activists and advocates with examples of bills that have passed and changed the legal landscape.

Panelists:
Michael McCray (Moderator), ACORN 8
John Hanlon, Former Director, Innocence Project
Dr. Anthony Williams, Pastor of Chicago’s Martin Luther King Community
Church Reverend Lynn R. Mims, Co-founder Barak Christian Church, Hazelwood, MO
Dr. Ben Williams, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Matthew Fogg, Retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

12:00 pm Addressing Discrimination in the Federal Workplace (Coalition For Change, Inc.)

Members of the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C), a civil rights group formed to address race discrimination and retaliation in the federal government, will present an engaging overview of the Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Anti-discrimination Act of 2020. The panelists will discuss the origin of the law as well as the provisions of the law that passed on January 1, 2021. Expressly, panelists will address how the Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Anti-discrimination Act of 2020 amends the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, and will discuss the critical actions the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to take to enforce effectively antidiscrimination laws.

Panelists:
Joyce Megginson (Moderator), Public Relations Officer for the Coalition for Change
Tanya Ward Jordan, President/Founder of The Coalition For Change
Paulette Taylor, whistleblower, President and Co-founder of the non-profit “Black Females for Justice II, Inc. at the Social Security Administration.

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

4:00 pmWhistleblower Books / Film Distribution (ACORN 8)

This event is a whistleblower summit tradition. Famous and not so famous authors from the MISC community discuss their books and the journey of writing them. This year the panel will discuss the process of writing a whistleblower book, adapting it as a screenplay, producing the film and then getting film distribution.

Panelists:
Michael McCray (Moderator), ACORN 8
Marcel Reid, ACORN 8
JJ Goldberg filmmaker of Stone Mountain, African-American Women In Cinema
Jordan Mattos, Cinemarket* (Film Distributor)

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

* Participating from the Cannes Film Festival

Wednesday, July 28

10:00 am Global Whistleblowing

Chaired by Anna Myers, this panel will present new and emerging developments in international whistleblower rights. Panelists will cover: the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive and its transposition; the ISO 37002 whistleblowing standard for whistleblowing management systems for organizations; IGOs including the UN, the UNCAC, and the C20’s Anti-corruption Working Group; and developments in national whistleblower laws including Serbia, Ukraine, Canada, Iceland, and others.

Panelists:
Anna Myers (Moderator), Government Accountability Project
Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project
Samantha Feinstein, Government Accountability Project
Dr. Wim Vandekerckhove

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)


11:00 am –  Immigration Justice  (Government Accountability Project)

Dana Gold, Senior Counsel at Government Accountability Project, will discuss how immigration whistleblowers have been some of the most effective vehicles to defend and protect the most vulnerable–asylum seekers and immigrants in detention settings. She joins three of the most significant whistleblowers who spoke up about the harms to immigrants in detention: Dawn Wooten, a nurse whose brave disclosures about medical misconduct at Irwin County Detention Center, went viral, including the failure to protect detainees and staff from COVID-19, and women detainees undergoing unnecessary, non-consensual gynecological procedures; and Drs. Scott Allen and Pamela McPherson, medical and mental health experts in detention health for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, both recognized as heroes for disclosing systematic failures witnessed during their inspections of family detention centers that increase the foreseeable risk of harm to migrant children and families in detention.

Panelists:
Dana Gold (Moderator), Government Accountability Project
Dawn Wooten, Nurse and Whistleblower
Dr. Scott Allen, Detention health expert and Whistleblower
Dr. Pamela McPherson, Detention health expert and Whistleblower

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)


12:00 pm –  Guardianship Abuses (T.S. Networks)

We will discuss the Guardianship system, the legal and psychological abuse the victim is subjected to, and what changes are needed. The legislation that has passed along with pending legislation both national and international guardianship issues. We will discuss the predatory nature of guardianship and the prosecution of the predators.  Many do not know that Guardianship is the loss of all legal capacity.  It is now coming to the public's attention with the recent Britney Spears case.  But this has been an ongoing issue for decades.  And our panel of advocates and victims has been at the forefront of seeking justice for well over a decade.

In coordination with the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA) we have contributed to legislation, met with senators and representatives, and publicly exposed the issues for more than a decade via the radio shows and numerous articles and multiple web pages. We are now actively working with groups internationally who are encountering the same issues and we are forming a global coalition.  We have created a platform for those victimized, their families and friends, to give them a voice.

Panelists:
Marti Oakely, Activist and advocate on issues of guardianship abuse
Marsha Joiner, Family member of abuse victim
Christine (Kris) Dallas, with the Australian Association to STOP Guardianship & Administration Abuse
Coz Whitten-Skaife, Family member of abuse victim
Mary Witten, Liaison for the National Association to Stop
Guardian Abuse (NASGA)

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

4:00 pm Music Industry Whistleblowers

This panel discussion will be about the music industry’s first missteps during the Disco era. It also reveals how Atlanta became the most relevant market for launching new artists, new songs, and quality entertainment.

Panelists:
Terra Renee (Moderator), African-American Women In Cinema
Steven Rhim. A DJ and founder of the Atlanta Underground Record Pool
Calvin Dupree, Ring Master of the famous Universoul Circus
Brian Lassiter, Independent consultant to music labels and artists

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

Thursday, July 29

10:00 amSystemic Discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA Coalition of Minority Employees)

The USDA has long used the terms “socially disadvantaged” and “historically underserved” to describe some farmers. Many call USDA “the peoples’ department,” but we refer to it more accurately as “the last plantation.” While on the surface, the class action suits PIGFORD I and II would suggest that things have improved and that minority farmers prevailed, we believe that nothing has changed. Under Secretary Tom Vilsack, who served two terms under President Obama, there is substantial evidence that institutional racism, sexism, and other abusive behavior discrimination went unchanged. Some will tell you that their Civil Rights administration is the best ever at the USDA. Unfortunately, facts differ from that false narrative. A current example of civil rights offenses is the USDA Forest Service, western division, in which harassment and sexual perpetrations continue. This panel provides an update on the dysfunctional behavior within the Office of Civil Rights and how farmers and employees continue to be harmed.

Panelists:
Lawrence Lucas (Moderator) former President of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees
Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center
Lesa Donnelly, Vice President of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees
Emma Scott, Instructor at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic
Nathan Rosenberg, visiting scholar at the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa College of Law.

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

11:00 am Working Effectively with the Office of Special Counsel (Government Accountability Project)

The goal for this workshop is to help whistleblowers learn the realistic expectations when seeking help from the OSC and how most effectively to obtain it. By better understanding, the OSC’s procedures, limitations and the full range of ways it can help, whistleblowers can reduce frustration and increase the support they receive. The panel also will highlight the OSC’s dedicated unit for COVID 19 whistleblowers.

Panelists:
Tom Devine JD, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
Anne Gullick, U.S.,Office of Special Counsel – investigations and actions against retaliation
Jacob Land, Office of Special Counsel – Whistleblowing disclosures
Whitney Sisco, Office of Special Counsel – Alternative Disputes Resolution

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

12:00 pm Ramifications of the Pentagon Papers—Today!

On July 3, 1971 the New York Times published what is now known as the Pentagon Papers, which prompted a series of events that ultimately resulted in the resignation of Richard Nixon and changed the landscape on American journalism due to a landmark decision on freedom of the press. This informative panel will examine the long-term impact of the publishing of the Pentagon Papers on free speech, whistleblowing, investigative journalism and American society overall.

Panelists:
Gene Policinski (Moderator), Senior Fellow at the Freedom Forum
Mark S. Zaid, Attorney representing whistleblowers and the media
Lynn Oberlander, Media attorney at Ballard Spahr
Eleanor Clift, Political columnist for the Daily Beast
Kenneth Jost (Invited), Journalist and author covering legal affairs

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

4:00 pmWorking with Congress (Government Accountability Project)

The goal for this workshop is analogous to that for the OSC panel – grounding in realistic expectations and tactics for best obtaining support, and success stories that illustrate the potential. It also will include an introduction to the impressive body of work to help whistleblowers most effectively navigate Congress from the House Office of Whistleblower Ombuds during its first year. Finally, it will review the most significant of 36 campaigns by the Make It Safe Coalition this Congress for stronger free speech laws, including – 1) the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act to finish the work left undone in the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act.

This Congress is our campaign for the final teeth that finally make the WPA a credible free speech shield. 2) Covid 19 WPA – to provide more teeth for all contractor whistleblowers, such as protection against civil and criminal liability. 3) Law enforcement whistleblower protections to enforce new controls on police abuses; 4) Overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection; 5) Restoration and upgrade of corporate whistleblower rights in the Dodd Frank Act; and 6) makeover of Intelligence Community whistleblower rights. Panelists will come from staff who are on the front lines of working relationships with whistleblowers. Invited panelists will come from a pool that includes staff from the House and Senate Whistleblower Caucuses, the House Whistleblower Ombuds, and from the minority and majority staffs of the congressional committees that oversee the WPA — Senate Homeland Security Committee and House Committee on Oversight and Reform.


Panelists:
Tom Devine (Moderator)
Rachel Marshall – Senator Jackie Speier’s Office
Danny Boatright – Senator Grassley’s Office and Judiciary Committee
Shanna Devine – Director, House Office of Whistleblower Ombuds

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

Friday, July 30

11:00 am Closing Plenary / Pillar Awards Presentation

The Closing Plenary provides an opportunity for summit hosts and stakeholders to celebrate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day and present the coveted Pillar Awards. The Pillar Award presentation is an annual ceremony celebrating notable First Amendment, Civil Rights and Human Rights champions. The closing plenary will be followed by a keynote presentation from Daniel Ellsberg.

Shaw / Pillar Award Presented by National Whistleblower Center
Marcel Reid - Presenter Pillar Recipients 2021
Michael McCray – Co-Presenter Pillar Recipients 2021

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

Special Thanks to Government Accountability Project for Providing Pillar Awards


12:00 pm Keynote (Daniel Ellsberg)

Keynote presentation from Dr. Ellsberg, a former Defense Department aide and the co-author and the primary whistleblower in the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, a classified history of the policy decisions that led to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. These papers were reported publicly on July 1, 1971, first by the New York Times. The federal government indicted Ellsberg on for theft of government property and violation of the espionage act but the indictments were later dismissed because of government lawbreaking in trying to collect information on the defendant.

Panelists:
Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, Whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

4:00 pmMost Dangerous Man in America (Filmmakers Panel)

Panel discussion with the documentary filmmakers. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist in the Pentagon, concluded that America’s role in the war was based on decades of lies. He copied and leaked 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times and then to The Washington Post. The daring and conscientious activities of whistleblowers and journalists during these times led to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War, and a Supreme Court ruling expanding press freedom.

Film Screening Presented by Government Accountability Project

Panelists:
Michael McCray (Moderator), ACORN 8
Rick Goldsmith filmmaker of The Most Dangerous Man in America
Judith Ehrlich filmmaker of The Most Dangerous Man in America
Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project

For more information, speaker bios, etc. please click here. (See director statement tab)

FILM SCREENINGS

Each film will be available at the scheduled release time and date (see below) – and will be available for viewing for 72 hours after the individual release window.


Friday, July 23

1:00 pm – Protest | Justice for George Floyd; and Defense Contract (Short Block)

7:00 pm -- Giving Voice: A Black Lives Matter Musical

9:00 pm - The New Abolitionists

Saturday, July 24

1:00 pm – I ELECT: Power Every Four Years

7:00 pm – Chicago: America's Hidden War

9:00 pm – Frenemies

Sunday, July 25


12:00 pm – Watergate Discussion Panel

1:00 pm – The Zoom Call

7:00 pm – All is one. Except 0.

9:00 pm – Medicating Normal

Monday, July 26

1:00 pm – Sallie Mae Not

7:00 pm – Line in the Street -  a Film About Gerrymandering

9:00 pm – We Want the Airwaves

Tuesday, July 27

1:00 pm – "A Layman in Pursuit of Justice" Black Farmers Fight Against USDA

7:00 pm – The Son

9:00 pm – This is My Brave

Wednesday, July 28

1:00 pm – SPARK: A Systemic Racism Story

7:00 pm – The Breast Kept Secret: A Breast Expose'

9:00 pm – Trapped: Cash Bail in America

Thursday, July 29

1:00 pm – Turkey: Breaking the Silence

7:00 pm – Homeopathy Unrefuted?

9:00 pm – UNDER THREAT

Friday, July 30

1:00 pm – A Place in the World

7:00 pm – Last Call for Tomorrow

9:00 pm – The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Saturday, July 31

1:00 pm – Oversight

7:00 pm – JUNGLE CRY

9:00 pm – Dirty Banking

Sunday, August 1

1:00 pm – Four Motherless Children

7:00 pm – A crime in book fair  (Short Block)

9:00 pm – Father, daughter and old woman  (Short Block)

We are beginning the promotional rollout for the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival and want to inform you of the schedule for the summit panels and film screenings. Please share this information with your friends, family and networks.

For More information about the Virtual Film Festival platform, click here.

The ticket box office “Now Open” and available

Speak Truth to
Power

You can help give more power and voice to whistleblowers by supporting the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival. You will be helping to highlight civil and human rights violations across the globe. Call us at (870) 543-0024 or email us at mccray.michael@gmail.com.

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