On May 22, 2012, the No FEAR Coalition honored three whistleblowers and our own Richard Renner, who serves as the Legal Director and Secretary of the National Whistleblowers Center. The award for Renner recognized his advocacy for whistleblowers and his pro bono work. Appropriately the awards ceremony was held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Renner, who has a long record of service for civil rights issues, received his award at the entrance to the memorial of the revered civil rights leader.
During the ceremony the No FEAR Coalition also honored three other whistleblowers. Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, founder of the No FEAR Coalition (and a Board Member of the National Whistleblowers Center), presented awards to Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician, single payer advocate, organizer of Occupy Washington DC and co-director of ItsOurEconomy.US. Alease Wright, former National Federal Women’s Program Manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection received an award for advancing the rights of women and involvement in community activities for women and youth throughout her career. Ms. Wright was victimized by EPA, but continued to maintain her integrity and commitment to others. Alicia Dabney, an employee of the U.S. Forest Service received an award for speaking out against sexual assaults by supervisors in that Service.
Before beginning the event Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo led a demonstration in front of the memorial, chanting “No justice, no peace!” This was primarily in protest to the retaliation of federal agencies against whistleblowers, and the agencies’ inefficiency in handling the outrageous number of discrimination and retaliation claims pending in their offices of civil rights. Some speakers, for example, mentioned they had cases pending since 1989. This was an inspiring crowd of whistleblowers and whistleblower supporters that gathered at the MLK Memorial. They were loud and clear that they were not scared to stand up for justice, and were definitely not scared to let their voices be heard. Matthew Fogg spoke about his whistleblowing at the U.S. Marshals Service. Melissa Seaver spoke about continuing federal discrimination against Native Americans, and about losing her home to a Department of Agriculture foreclosure.
Photos by NWC interns Adrian Amaya and Andy Lugo, and Richard Renner. This blog post was written by Adrian Amaya.