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ALA secures activism leaders for Washington Update session

Golden gate bridge and Fort Point in San Francisco. Photo by Jon Sullivan.
Golden gate bridge and Fort Point in San Francisco. Photo by Jon Sullivan.

For decades, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Library Association (ALA) have stood shoulder to shoulder on the front lines of the fight for privacy online, at the library and in many other spheres of our daily lives. Standing in for EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, the award-winning group’s Activism Director, Rainey Reitman, will discuss that proud shared history and the uncertain future of personal privacy during this year’s 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The session, titled “Frenetic, Fraught and Front Page: An Up-to-the-Second Update from the Front Lines of Libraries’ Fight in Washington,” takes place from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the Moscone Convention Center in room 2001 of the West building. Also speaking will be Jackson Bird, communications director and spokesperson for the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) and noted YouTube video producer and blogger. HPA, an online activism community of hundreds of thousands of people, is dedicated to “changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story.” Since 2005, they have engaged millions of fans through its work for equality, human rights, and literacy and are among the latest national advocacy organizations to actively collaborate with the American Library Association.

In addition to the featured speakers, Adam Eisgrau, managing director of the ALA Office of Government Relations in Washington, will provide up-to-the-minute insight from the congressional trenches of key federal privacy legislation “in play,” including the current status of efforts to reform the USA PATRIOT Act, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as copyright reform, and federal library funding. Also, Larra Clark, deputy director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, will update attendees on critical broadband policy issues and OITP’s multi-year Policy Revolution! initiative.

Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers, which include Jackson Bird, communications director, Harry Potter Alliance; Larra Clark, deputy director, Office for Information Technology Policy,  American Library Association Washington Office; Adam Eisgrau, managing director, Office of Government Relations, American Library Association Washington Office; and Rainey Reitman, activism director, Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As the leader of the activism team at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reitman is especially interested in the intersection between personal privacy and technology, particularly social networking privacy, network security, web tracking, government surveillance, and online data brokers. Reitman is the chief operating officer and co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends and supports unique, independent, nonprofit journalistic institutions. In 2013, she received the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Journalism. Reitman also is a founder and steering committee member for the Chelsea Manning Support Network, a network of individuals and organizations advocating for the release of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Private Chelsea Manning.

A speaker, video creator, and wizard activist, Bird began working with the Harry Potter Alliance as a volunteer in 2010 and was hired as the Communications Director and Spokesperson in 2013. He graduated from New York University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature and a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking. He regularly speaks about new media and fan activism at events including TEDx Women, MIT’s Futures of Entertainment, Book Expo America, and San Diego Comic-Con. Jackson produces the HPA’s online videos, which have been featured on Upworthy, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Mashable, and more. He also writes the horoscopes for the HPA’s quarterly newsletter, The W.A.N.D., and stars on the organization’s YouTube channel as The Boy Who Vlogged. Jackson currently lives in New York City, where he co-runs the Giant Squidstravaganza fanblog, Cephanloblogcast, and can be found on YouTube answering the age-old question, “Will It Waffle?”

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Jazzy Wright

Jazzy Wright is a former press officer of the Washington Office.

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