On Friday evening July 8, 2022, Richard Kane’s film, Truth Tellers, about the Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) portrait project, was shown in the auditorium at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), the organization that defends whistleblowers and writes legislation to protect them, co-sponsored the event.
Prior to the film’s showing at a reception in the auditorium lobby, Robert Shetterly unveiled his new portrait of whistleblower Dawn Wooten from Tifton, Georgia. Ms. Wooten, who exposed the extreme abuse of immigrant women being held in the Irwin County Detention Center in Tifton, was present to assist with the portrait unveiling and talk about her experience. Also speaking at the reception were Louis Clark, a portrait subject and founder and head of GAP, Robert Shetterly, and Aran Shetterly, Executive Director of AWTT.
Also present at the event were several other AWTT portrait subjects: Dave Zirin, progressive sports writer and an author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States; John Kiriakou, former CIA agent and whistleblower about U.S. torture policy; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hiphop Caucus, an activist organization working on Climate Change, racism, and violence; Pat Humphries and Sandy O, who make up the singing duo emma’s revolution; and Stephen Ritz from the South Bronx and founder of the Green Bronx Machine.
After a large and enthusiastic audience enjoyed the film, Asantewa Boakyema, an Associate Director at the Anacostia Community Museum (part of the Smithsonian), moderated a panel discussion, with Dawn Wooten, Louis Clark, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and Robert Shetterly. One of the highlights of the discussion was The Rev. talking about the “bare knuckle” fight we are in now to save existence on this planet. He likened this moment to a barroom brawl in which, until now, the lights have been off, making it hard to see who were the good guys and the bad guys. But, he said, the lights are on now, and it’s clear who the enemies of survival are — and what our responsibilities are. The discussion ended with questions from the audience.
The exciting finale of the evening was a rousing performance of original songs by emma’s revolution.
This powerful multifaceted, multimedia event at the National Portrait Gallery in which Americans Who Tell the Truth brings together portraits, portrait subjects, an unveiling of a new portrait, film, music and discussion was convened by AWTT to help citizens engage positively and hopefully with social, environmental and economic injustice.