Activists, Artists & Parents: the Revolution Starts at Home

It might be hard to imagine a music video that shows a young father singing about love and hopes for his toddler son, behind scenes of the family changing diapers, break dancing, and marching with the baby at a protest against the School of Americas torture training camp in Georgia. But Rodrigo Starz’s new single (see below) “Can You Call it Love” – that just dropped ahead of the March 10th release of his first solo album – has all that and more. In this moving song, Starz (the son of Chilean activists who survived torture by the Pinochet regime, and half of the revolutionary Hip Hop group Rebel Diaz, who’ve performed for the RFC) “opens up a bit about being a new father and husband and how the revolution starts at home.”

Combining parenting and activism – and in many cases, making art – is at the heart of our project, but it’s not an easy road. Blending two, or even three of these elements, presents challenges, some of which the RFC meets with our grants. But integrating these roles is centrally important to many members of our community, from the targeted activists whose children receive our aid, to artists who are connected with us in various ways.  Here are some of their thoughts on why they’ve chosen to blend activism, parenting, and in some cases, artistic careers, despite the pressures and risks:

  • “Why did we have children even after we were underground? Why does a person living in a ghetto, barrio or out in some holler have children? Why do the immigrant workers sweating in fields and factories for less than minimum wage have children? It’s because we love children and want a family, even on the brink of disaster and a truncated future. Can’t just be the folks with money and property having kids. Children are the seeds of hope.” – former U.S. political prisoner and parent of several of the earliest RFC beneficiaries
     
  • “Raising our children and doing our political work are part of the same project. We can’t give up one to do the other, and still be whole people and raise whole children." – targeted activist parent of a current RFC beneficiary
     
  • “Just in living the life we're trying to live, there's a message we're trying to put across. Because we travel with our kids, and we play acoustic music, and we write our own songs, and I feel like in some ways just the act of being an artist, and not feeling the pressure to stop doing that when you have kids, or stop doing it for any number of other reasons...I feel like it's a social message that we're sending.”  - Ruthy Merenda, of Mike + Ruthy, and member of the RFC Advisory Board (along with her husband Mike Merenda)
     
  • “I wanna build so you can grow up and we can grow old
    Knowing that we got you ready for this new world
    But you gonna start that era where we see that new world
    Hour after hour it’ll soon be your turn

     - from “Can You Call it Love” by Rodrigo Starz

Check out the “Can You Call It Love” video below, and let us know your thoughts about the challenges and rewards of raising children, while making art or trying to change the world.

 

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Comments

As someone who babysat for lesbian mothers when it was Not cool to be a mother and lesbian at the same time, I saw how hard it can be to raise kids. I've helped raise kids by babysitting, teaching, coaching and generally being available for over 40 years, an astonishing figure.
It's true it takes a village to raise a child. Community is so important, as well as breaks for parents and adult trustworthy friends for kids.

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