Charting the Future of AFA

 In News

The following is the text of the speech given by Dr. Karen Siegemund at the 2016 Heroes of Conscience Awards dinner held in honor of Avi Davis.

And now, we turn to the future of AFA.

It is with deep sadness and love, but also appreciation and gratitude, that we turn from the past, and the AFA that was Avi, and towards the future, with our desire to keep his legacy alive, and also to build on it.  The goal,  to fight to defend western civilization against a host of threats, is of course the same.  But we engage in this fight with vigor and, perhaps too,  a passion born of a panic that this tremendous organization might, with the loss of Avi, have been lost as well.

We on the board of directors are, as I had said before, a pretty impressive bunch, and we will be using our skills and knowledge in pursuit of strengthening the American Freedom Alliance.

The video you just watched, the Puzzle Video, tells the story of why what we do is so important.  I myself see these pieces a little differently.  To me, the main reason threats such as globalization, Islamic penetration, radical environmentalism, are able to gain a foothold at all is because of the agenda-driven media and education system.  These aren’t two of the things we must fight against in the same fashion as the others – these two are what gives these things traction.  “EVERYBODY KNOWS that polar bears are dying, that the earth is burning up, that Islam is the religion of peace, that the UN is the savior of civilization.”   WHY does everybody know this? Because they learn it in school, they read it in the paper, it’s tucked into our favorite TV shows.

As the founder and president of Rage Against the Media, an activist organization dedicated to fighting the outrageous  and ever-so-damaging bias in our news media, I have said that the media is supposed to be an innoculant against tyranny, not its delivery system.  The same holds for education.  Sadly, both of these systems whose purpose had been to ensure an educated populace – the only kind that can be entrusted with self-governance – have been taken over as cells are by cancer.   So as we go forward, regardless of the topic, we will be ensuring that we include the complicity of the media and academia in our discussion of the problem, and of the solution.

For example, our August conference on Islam will have 4 panels:  Islam indoctrination in the schools, Islamic propaganda in the media, the European invasion, and Islam as a security threat.  Our conferences will include, as they always have, the best minds on the planet, as well as those already engaged in the fight:  people who not only study the problems, but who also work on solutions.  And we will also make sure to include measures that each of us can take.

In fact, when you think about what AFA is, we are an educational organization, analogous to a university but with this difference:  what we teach is the truth.  What we teach is of consequence, and rather than doing what we can, as do too many universities (present company excepted), to infantilize those who come to us, we empower. Rather than teach victimhood, we empower. Rather than preach social justice, equality of outcome, Marxian, kumbayah utopian nonsense to the delicate snowflakes, we teach reality, and again, we empower.

By envisioning ourselves as a parallel to today’s universities, we can find ways to become a bulwark against the damage that those other universities do.  As Board member Howard Hyde said, “Let the American freedom alliance be a primary shadow institution to the illiberal academic racket, and vehicle for supporting an ever-increasing number of champions of Liberty” – exactly so.

When I speak on behalf of Rage Against the Media, I start my talks asking the audience to imagine, just for a moment, what the state of the world, of this country, would be like if we’d had honest journalism.  It’s nearly impossible to imagine, isn’t it?  Well, now I’ll ask you to imagine the state of the world if universities did the job THEY ought to do.  Just as impossible.

We aim to fill that educational void,  not only for those of college age – but for students of EVERY age, which includes, I do believe, each of us.

And to that end, we plan to strengthen our Fellows program under the direction of Howard Hyde and John Hancock, both of whom are published authors.  The new Fellows program will  increase our reach, our visibility and our reputation for excellence and as a go-to institution for informed commentary.  Yes, we want to be that “shadow institution” but we also want to be the light.

In addition, as many of us are authors, bloggers, analysts, we are adapting our website to showcase our own  writing, the writings of our fellows, and articles related to our areas of concern.  These AFA and related pieces will be sent out in a weekly newsletter, so we hope you subscribe if you haven’t already.

And yes, our Literary Cafes will continue, as will our cinema gateways.  As you can see in your Tribute  books, we already have several planned, and are working on more all the time.

And let me point this out explicitly: we are not a political organization.  We are issues-based, and while the fight for what we believe in can take place in the political arena, it takes place far more broadly: IN the schools, IN the media, IN entertainment,  It takes place IN THE CULTURE and that is where we – each of us – can engage.  I’d venture to say that most in this room are hardly passive on these topics.  One role AFA has taken on is to empower EACH OF YOU to disseminate the knowledge that our schools, our media, our entertainment refuse to.

Freedom.  It is the sine qua non of all that we have.  Each of those pieces of the puzzle aims to erode it, and we are here to defend it.  We are here to shine that light of truth, to fight those who aim to extinguish it,  and to heal the world. And we hope that you will join us in that mission.





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