Courage has come a long way since our launch in summer 2014. Back then, Edward Snowden was our sole beneficiary. Today in addition, to running Edward Snowden’s official public defence fund we do the same for six others — Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, Matt DeHart, Lauri Love, Chelsea Manning and Emin Huseynov.
Courage’s work makes an appreciable difference in those cases we support — to our beneficiaries’ personal safety, to the visibility of their cases and in securing wide access to the information they have brought to public attention. The importance of our work is being increasingly recognised.
We could never have come this far without the support of our founding board of trustees: WikiLeaks editor in chief Julian Assange, Article 19 legal director Barbora Bukovska and dearly missed CIJ head Gavin MacFadyen.
Courage’s trustees oversee our budget, approve new beneficiaries and provide strategic direction to the organisation. With Gavin’s passing, a new board of trustees has been appointed to see us through the coming years.
Meet Courage’s new board of trustees:
Dame Vivienne Westwood is a world-renowned British fashion designer and political activist, who co-created punk in the 70s and elevated street style to the level of high fashion. A highly influential cultural figure for five decades, Vivienne Westwood has used her platform to campaign on political issues, bringing much needed attention to campaigns for civil liberties, human rights and climate change. In 2013, during Chelsea Manning’s trial, Dame Vivienne dedicated one of her collections to the WikiLeaks whistleblower and wore a badge with Manning’s image and the word TRUTH to the Met Ball. She was awarded an OBE in 1992.
A journalist since the 1960s, Australian-born John Pilger is renowned as a foreign and war correspondent in the UK, as well as a documentary filmmaker. He has won an Emmy and BAFTA Academy Awards for epic films covering Cambodia, East Timor, Palestine and Latin America. In December 2010, Pilger pledged and organised bail support to Julian Assange and featured him in his film, “The War You Don’t See.” In 2009, he was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, for “courage as a foreign and war correspondent in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard,” and for “commitment to peace with justice by exposing and holding governments to account for human rights abuses and for fearless challenges to censorship in any form.” He lives in London.
Renata Avila is a human rights lawyer specialising in Intellectual Property and Technology. She worked as one of the lawyers representing the Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and more recently, Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Involved in Internet and Human Rights research since 2006, Renata worked with the Web Inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and more than 125 organizations from the global south, in an effort to uphold human rights in the digital age. She serves as a Board Member of Creative Commons and is an active advisory member for the the Municipality of Barcelona’s BITS initiative, aiming at reducing surveillance and empowering citizens with privacy tools. She is currently writing a book on Digital Colonialism.
After being a textile designer in Scotland, a publisher in London and New York and a photographer on assignments around the world, Susan Benn founded Performing Arts Labs (PAL Labs), to bring together leading international talents across the arts, sciences, education and cultural policy. At PAL Labs participants brought radical ideas to develop challenging new work together. Benn is currently Senior Advisor to the Centre for Investigative Journalism at Goldsmiths University, a Director of The Mind Reels Company, Founder and International Advisor for the Southasian Children’s Cinema Forum and Chairman of StrongBack, London’s new Caribbean theatre company.