"Can I Get A Witness" is a virtual feminist conference taking place via Zoom on Saturday, August 8. The conference includes 25 speakers, 13 hours of online feminist talks and panels, and intimate panelist Live Q&As via Discord. Featured speakers include 4W founder M. K. Fain, Meghan Murphy, Vaishnavi Sundar, Jamila Bey, Jennifer Bilek, Abigail Shrier, Kara Dansky, and many more.
The conference aims to educate the public on the issues surrounding gender identity ideology by offering disparate voices a forum for sharing their research, analysis, and personal stories. Can I Get A Witness is a secular, privately funded project giving voice to those who have either been silenced, experienced job loss, had their reputations trashed, been de-platformed, received death threats, or experienced violence first-hand from radical trans activists.
4W sat down with the primary conference organizer, joey brite, (who was using an all lowercase name "before kd lang was a thing!") to discuss what it's like organizing one of the biggest online feminist conferences to ever take place.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you come to be organizing a feminist conference?
I have a long life of activism in social justice causes, worked in non-profits, mediation panels and conflict resolution work in high schools. Back in the 1970s when no one would give women’s music any airplay, I became an event producer early on that helped inform my efforts to raise money in the 2007 Obama campaign. I’m a working class butch lesbian, a former radio DJ, a true "2nd Waver," a cinephile and fan of jazz. I ran successful campaigns against one of the largest jazz festivals in the world a few years ago to get them to increase the hiring and promotion of female jazz instrumentalists and it’s something I’m very proud of. I’m also an issue bridge-builder and have purposefully created a conference that is not actually "feminist," but speaks to basic concerns that should help electrify the populace to action.
What is the goal of Can I Get A Witness?
Since learning about the massive financing behind transgenderism – due in no small part to the investigative reporting of Jennifer Bilek– I changed my focus of concern regarding gender non-conforming lesbians going under the knife, to that of children seemingly being churned out in the meat-grinder type of eugenics experimentation of gender clinics springing up all over the Western hemisphere. My hope is that this event will inspire anguish-to-action as it will encourage the normalization of insisting on these important conversations. The gas lighting campaign of Big Pharma interests have had the microphone of spinning out lies for far too long. I want us all to #TakeBackTheMic.
The phrase “Can I get a witness?” is reminiscent of religion, but this is an explicitly secular conference. How did you choose the name?
I’m glad you noticed that! Because I wanted to reach across the lines of the secular-to-the-faith-based populations, the phrase just hit me one day as the perfect title. Since I tend to think in terms of film and music also, that combination popped a vision in my head with visuals of the Baptist church tent rivalries and of individuals burning to get some truth or observation off their chests. It has brought a smile to people and seems to open them up to risk speaking up about the topic. Although I’m a non-believer, it appears my "religion" has become about saving youth from irreversible harm. Maybe it’s just my mission!
This conference was originally supposed to be an in-person conference. How have you handled the necessary shift to online organizing in the age of COVID?
I had met a very tech savvy and like-minded social justice ally in the winter of 2019 and kept her in mind as a potential assistant to be hired for the physical conference I’d been planning for months already. I had been encouraged early on to take the conference idea online during a few initial meetings I had with an early collaborator, but I resisted that concept. After all, where would the chemistry be? I deliberately wanted something off-line that would engage people to action by trust-building sessions and all the teamwork that gets birthed in eye-to-eye and handshake connecting. Then when COVID hit, the (mystery) tech-savvy ally was the first one I thought of to contact and ask if she would like to help me with my vision. Taking the template I’d created for the physical conference and transferring that to a virtual one was at first daunting, but I do have an eye for finding good talent and I think I found the perfect collaborator.
Many of the speakers at the conference have been publicly harassed, fired from their jobs, censored online, and effectively “canceled” for maintaining feminist beliefs. Do you anticipate any push-back aimed at the conference for giving a platform to these women?
I’ve already received push-back and the darn thing hasn’t even taken place yet! Thankfully this isn’t my first "dog-and-pony show" and I’ve learned that whatever criticism happens, it usually is an indicator of the insecurities of the individual complaining rather than any true reflection of the intent of the event itself.
Where else can we find you online, and how can we support your work?
At the moment there is a Facebook page for Can I Get A Witness, but that could get "canceled" at any point so… not until later this fall-early winter when a platform will pop up with a channel and the video clips will (cross-your-fingers) be uploaded. There will be a minor paywall for short-term rental and we’ll see if I can keep the company afloat. At this point there is no other website. I am keeping this idea of providing future services for allowing safe and protected virtual hang-outs for people who want to enjoy the simple-but-now-radical idea of free speech without fear of retaliation. We need to normalize rational conversation again.
Can I Get a Witness Conference Details
WHEN: August 8th, 9:00am to 10:00pm PST
WHERE: Virtual conference hosted through Zoom
TICKETS: $20 for the entire day, buy online
(prices increase to $30 after July 31, so get your tickets early)
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