Above is what Edward Snowden saw at Liberty Forum 2016. (Get your tix to Liberty Forum 2024 with Tulsi Gabbard today!)
Right after he saw us all put up masks of his face to drive home the point, “We are all Edward Snowden now.” I remember during the sound check having to warn him about the masks because I thought it might be strange to be confronted by such a visual unexpectedly. He was embarrassed, flattered, and gracious.
Still think the whole Snowden package–from getting him to speak, to getting the announcement that he was speaking on the front page of hundreds of newspapers worldwide, to the masks, to the incredible interview with Nick Gillespie of REASON–was one of our coolest “Only in the Free State” moments!
Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen. Feel free to add your recollections too.
I ran across this post that Liberty Forum Producer Angela Harris made soon after the 2016 event:
WOW, what a weekend! If you had told me a year ago that Emmett and I would be organizing the next Liberty Forum, and that not only would we have Edward Snowden as our keynote speaker, but that we would have already Triggered the Move weeks before, I would have told you were crazy – optimistic and cute, but crazy. Now my head is reeling from the reality of it all – I need a pinch! Or a drink! (Ask me about my Emergency Nip if we get a chance –this may become an essential part of my packing routine in the future.)
I kept watch over the course of the four days, and almost everywhere I turned, I saw smiling faces and heard excited voices – people greeting old friends, enrapt in conversations in the corridors, laughing together as they headed off to the next gathering. It was truly humbling and invigorating to play host to such a diverse and passionate group of people.
An event the size and scope of Liberty Forum does not come together overnight, and it does not happen at the whim of one, or even two, people – it takes a small army of dedicated volunteers to pull it off and make it look effortless and seamless, and each of our volunteers devoted untold amounts of time, talent, and treasure to make Liberty Forum 2016 one for the record books. My sincere, heartfelt thanks go out to everyone on the entire team, especially:
Amy Day for pulling together a million threads to make one cohesive, impressive schedule – your talents amaze me and I thank you for dealing with my billion-and-one emails every day;
Sandy Pierre for wrangling libertarian cats into speaking slots and ensuring they all had the information they needed;
Kyle Laura Bennett for stocking and managing a kick-ass VIP suite – it truly felt like home away from home (but much nicer!);
Chip Spangler for running back and forth between four salons to keep the A/V machine humming so that everyone could see and hear what was going on;
Liam Enael for sending the signal to the universe, designing and printing the printed matter, and pulling my bacon out of the fire more than once;
Samantha Leane for keeping the Registration table running smoothly and making sure everyone got where they needed to go – oh, and for having an amazing collection of pretty paperclips;
Hershel Nunez for reaching out to and wrangling not 10, not 20, but 40+ exhibitors – you are a gracious host and have great vision;
Nicholas Buroker for not breaking the Internet during the Snowden talk; 😉
Carolyn Albert for going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure speakers got here and home again, and had lodging in between;
Rachel Goldsmith for liaising with our sponsors and making sure their needs were all met;
Jessica Love for envisioning and creating Porc Family Connection, giving parents a place to take their kids and where they could have fun while interacting with other parents – I don’t think there is any other conference in the world that has anything close;
Christine Mizer Butler for outstanding creative vision for the Liberty in Action Awards dinner – you and your team knocked it out of the park!;
Andre Rosa for a fabulously funny story and spectacular performance – what a show!;
JJ Epic for filming Snowden’s talk and the Liberty in Action Awards – wonderful eye, beautiful work!;
Jon Lts for putting on a hilarious comedy show to start the weekend off on the right foot;
Theresa Eudaimonia for keeping our relationship with the hotel on good footing and other various and sundry important deeds of helpfulness throughout the weekend;
Tara.טארה פאוול for deescalating situations (and de-icky-fying situations) like a PRO!;
Chris Lopez for being an amazing ambassador for Manchester by arranging ten spectacular off-site tours for the weekend;
Glenn Bailey for always being ready with some muscle when needed;
Dawn Lincoln for keeping the salons running smoothly and ensuring our speakers and attendees had what they needed for the talks;
Kari DePhillips and Brinck Slattery for being the bestest PR team on the planet;
Tennyson McCalla for being everywhere, tirelessly taking photos of everyone and everything, and putting up with my self-critical eye;
Jeremy Harris for being an awesome Man Friday and happily filling in where needed;
and last, but by no means least, Carla Gericke and Matt Philips for being an outstanding resource for all things Organizer, and for landing some pretty phenomenal speakers!
My deepest gratitude to all! And this is only the tip of the iceberg; many of these team members had a team of their own, each and every one of them working to ensure that Liberty Forum 2016 went off without a hitch, that each attendee had an enjoyable time, and that folks would want to come back for Liberty Forum 2017. I would say they were totally successful! I am exceptionally proud to have worked with this outstanding group of folks; they are the reason Liberty Forum happened at all. Please give them a pat on the back if you see them. 😃 ❤