In Black America Podcast: No Fear: A Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA – Part I
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents part one of a three-part discussion with Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, author of No Fear: The Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA, is also the founder of the No Fear Institute. As a young, African American, MIT-PhD social scientist, Coleman-Adebayo landed her dream job at the Environmental Protection Agency, working with former Vice President Al Gore, assisting post-apartheid South Africa. But when she tried to get the government to investigate allegations that a U.S. multinational corporation was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of South Africans mining vanadium—a vital strategic mineral–she found that the EPA was the first line of defense for the corporation. When the agency stonewalled, Coleman-Adebayo blew the whistle.
How could she know that the agency with a hippie-like logo would use every racist and sexist trick in their playbook in retaliation? The EPA cost her her career, endangered her family, and sacrificed more lives in the vanadium mines of South Africa—but also brought about an upwelling of support from others in the federal bureaucracy who were fed up with its crushing repression.
Upon prevailing in court, on August 18th, 2000, Coleman-Adebayo organized a grassroots struggle to bring protection to all federal employees facing discrimination and retribution from the government. The No FEAR Coalition that she organized waged a two-year-long battle with Congress over the need to protect whistleblowers—and won. The No Fear Act is the first Civil Rights law of the 21st century.