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On The Front Lines

Civil Rights Attorney John W. Whitehead to Deliver Keynote Speech on Civil Liberties and Food Freedom at Independent Farmers/Consumers Event

MCLEAN, Va. — John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, will deliver a keynote address to the attendees of the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association’s (VICFA) food freedom event on September 30, 2012. In keeping with the event’s theme, “Your Civil Liberties and Food Freedom,” Whitehead will discuss the dangers of overcriminalization and a militarized police force, especially as they impact small farmers. Also speaking as part of the event will be Joel Salatin, an organic farmer and author whose family owns and operates Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

“From SWAT team raids carried out at the behest of the Food and Drug Administration to onerous zoning regulations which prevent farmers from hosting pumpkin carving parties for children, local food producers are increasingly criminalized to their personal detriment and that of society as a whole,” said Whitehead, whose Rutherford Institute recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. “This is the result of an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal. In such a society, we are all petty criminals, guilty of violating some minor law”

John W. Whitehead is a man who defies all stereotypes: attorney, film director, painter, poet, musician and author. Considered a legal, political and cultural watchdog—sounding the call for integrity, accountability and an adherence to the democratic principles on which this country was founded, Whitehead’s concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit legal and educational organization whose international headquarters are located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Deeply committed to protecting the constitutional freedoms of every American and the integral human rights of all people, The Rutherford Institute has emerged as a prominent leader in the national dialogue on civil liberties and human rights and a formidable champion of the Constitution. Whitehead’s approach to civil liberties issues has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. Whitehead has written, debated and practiced widely in the areas of constitutional law, human rights and popular culture. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries, carried by daily and weekly newspapers and web publications across the country, including The Huffington Post, take the pulse of the nation, of what’s happening and what’s news. His provocative Gadfly magazine (now GadflyOnline.com) has been hailed by Utne Reader as “second only to the Library of Congress as a warehouse of American pop culture—and number one when it comes to fun reading.” Whitehead is the author of some 30 books, including The Change Manifesto and The Freedom Wars. Whitehead’s Grasping for the Wind documentary series was awarded two Silver World Medals at the New York Film and Video Festival. Most recently, in 2010 and 2011, music videos based on songs written by Whitehead were ranked among the top ten winners of a Music/Performance Video Contest sponsored by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida.

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