On Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning accepted the 2016 Blueprint Enduring Impact Whistleblowing Prize. In May 2010, Manning was charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Espionage Act, as well as "aiding the enemy," after leaking thousands of documents regarding the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to WikiLeaks. Now, six years later, Manning has been awarded the Whistleblowing Prize for her bravery in revealing some of this country's worst institutional transgressions in the War on Terror.
The prize was awarded to Manning at an event in London hosted by Blueprint for Free Speech, and includes a cash prize that will be "given to her chosen personal representative that looks after her while she’s currently in prison." Manning shared her acceptance speech via her childhood friend Aaron Kirkhouse, saying:
I keep fighting to warn the world of the dangerous trend in which the only information you can access is the kind that someone with money or power wants you to see.And, I keep fighting to let people know that they too can create change. By staying informed and educated, anyone can make a difference. You have the ability to fight for a better world for everyone — even for the most desperate, those at the bottom of the social ladder, refugees from conflict, queer and trans individuals, prisoners, and those born into poverty.
You can watch the full speech below.
Though Manning is locked away in an American prison, she has managed to shed light on the importance of access to information, being informed, creating a more just world, and holding those in power accountable. Manning's speech made it clear that even though she is incarcerated for sharing the atrocities the U.S. has committed, she is still fighting so that people know that they can make changes no matter what.
According to Manning, people must keep fighting for a better world — especially for the most vulnerable communities, including queer and trans people, prisoners, refugees, those born into poverty, black and brown communities, women, immigrants, those with disabilities, and individuals with intersecting identities.
Manning wants us all to know that this she is still fighting so that all of us can see someone who is both queer and trans, and incarcerated, still speaking out so openly about creating hope and change in the world. I see you, Chelsea.