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March 08, 2018

Vets for American Ideals Heads to SXSW

For the third year in a row, Human Rights First is headed to SXSW (or South by Southwest), but this time it’s Vets for American Ideals’ show.

This Sunday in Austin, leaders from VFAI, including its founder, Scott Cooper, will take to the stage at SXSW Interactive for “Ending Political Football with Veteran Voices,” a panel taking on the global refugee crisis, Islamophobia, and the current contentious political climate.

In the past, veterans were used as props, as tools for politicians to make points with their bases, but no more. No matter their age, gender, religious background, or branch of service, veterans are increasingly raising their voices to drive change. But veterans also face unique challenges in organizing, both in the digital realm and the real world. "Ending Political Football" will address those challenges and more.

SXSW Interactive is an annual conference that brings together leaders in government, nonprofit, marketing, technology and new media. It is the largest conference of its kind, and serves as a launch pad for new ideas and creative projects, as well as a professional development tool for decision makers at most of the country's top brands and technology companies. Participants have included top administration officials, members of Congress, and even the Obamas, alongside culture-makers and influencers from the media, film, nonprofit, and tech industries.

This year VFAI will be one of only a handful of organizations to present a panel featuring the voices of veterans. "Ending Political Football with Veteran Voices," brings together veterans from the U.S. Army, Marines, and Air Force to show that veterans are more than just political props, that they're civilizing voices in divisive times.