Being a Whistleblower in the Age of Trump
Sat 10:00am - 10:50am
When Dawn Wooten came forward to report nearly unspeakable abuse in an immigrant detention facility in Georgia, her deep Christian faith gave her both motivation and strength to hold abusers of power to account for unnecessary hysterectomies and other invasive procedures performed on immigrant detainees without consent. Other federal agency whistleblowers during the Trump administration bore witness to egregious abuses of power and, like Ms. Wooten, chose to speak up on issues including child separation at the border and dangerous conditions of immigrant detention; COVID policies and practices that put the public and air travelers at risk; suppression of climate science; politicization of the Department of Justice related to the shooting of Tamir Rice and election fraud; nuclear safety concerns, and more. Many of these whistleblowers rely on their faith and faith communities as a buttress in their ordeals of career and employment reprisal. Tom Devine, an internationally recognized expert in whistleblower protections and legal director of Government Accountability Project, the world’s leading whistleblower advocacy organization, has assisted thousands of whistleblowers in his 40-year career. In this session, Tom will share compelling stories from federal agency whistleblowers and will discuss why, although the White House has changed hands, the need for accountability, justice — and whistleblowers — who hold all levels of government to account, has not. Further, Tom will discuss the important role Wild Goose attendees, clergy and the broader faith community can play in not only being truth-tellers, but also by supporting those who may face the complex choice to exercise moral courage in service of the greater good. He will also provide information about a new faith-based whistleblower support initiative called Bearing Witness, which provides free resources to whistleblowers, clergy and faith communities nationwide.