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CARRY IT FORWARD Press Kit
May 29, 2013
For Immediate Release
Celebrities and Activists to Mark 60th Anniversary of Execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, and Others Join the Rosenbergs’ Children and Grandchildren at NYC Event to Protest Plight of Families of Political Prisoners and Other Targeted Activists
(May 29 - New York, NY)
On Sunday, June 16, 2013, just days before the 60th anniversary of the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, their sons and grandchildren will gather in New York City with Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, and other notable activists and artists to protest the plight of the families of political prisoners and other targeted activists in the United States today. The Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC), (www.rfc.org) a charity founded by Robert Meeropol, one of the two sons of the Rosenbergs, provides financial and emotional support to hundreds of children in the U.S. each year whose parents have been targeted as a result of their organizing for progressive causes.
The program entitled, CARRY IT FORWARD: Celebrate the Children of Resistance, (www.rfc.org/cifevent) will take place at 7:00 PM at The Town Hall at 123 West 43rd Street. This theatrical and topical event will feature vignettes dramatizing the last four days of the Rosenbergs’ lives, performed by the playwright and actress Eve Ensler as Ethel Rosenberg and actor Cotter Smith as Julius Rosenberg.
“As an artist committed to social justice and civil liberties, I am deeply gratified to stand with the family of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Angela Davis, and a new generation of political activists to forge an unbreakable link between the struggles of the past and of the present,” said Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, In the Body of the World, and other plays and books. “By speaking out together through our words and our art we are shattering the myth that there are no political prisoners – and no repression of activists – in America today.”
“To mark the 60th anniversary of the politically motivated execution of my parents, I am joining with my family and others to reaffirm our commitment to ensure that children of contemporary political prisoners and other progressive activists in the United States do not suffer in isolation, without the support of a broader community,” said Robert Meeropol, the founder and executive director of the Fund.
“When I was unjustly arrested and put on trial in the early 1970s, the support of activists worldwide buoyed my spirits and propelled my defense and acquittal,” said Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, who serves on the RFC’s advisory board. “I join with the family of the Rosenbergs and others to ensure that today’s victims of political prosecutions, especially the children of imprisoned activists, do not suffer alone.”
A highly diverse range of performers from multiple communities, movements, and backgrounds will participate in the June 16 event, including:
- Lennox Hinds, renowned international human rights attorney whose clients include Nelson Mandela, portraying political prisoner Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, whose family has been supported by the RFC
- Shola Lynch, director of the documentary FREE ANGELA and All Political Prisoners and other films, portraying Shoatz’s daughter
- Djibril Toure, a member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Copwatch and other NYC-activist groups, portraying Shoatz’s son
- Martín Espada, a poet (The Trouble Ball, The Republic of Poetry, and other books), who will read from his work
- Rebel Diaz, from the South Bronx, who will perform hip hop music about NYC’s stop and frisk policy
- Mike + Ruthy, folk musicians from Woodstock, NY, who will sing about the danger of fracking in NY state
- Recent beneficiaries of the RFC, who will share their experiences of being separated from parents who were detained or imprisoned as a result of their progressive activities
- Emma Lang, a young activist who will explain why she continues to “Carry it Forward” as the third generation of her family to support the Rosenberg/Meeropol family and the RFC’s work
(For information on the entire cast, please see www.rfc.org/cifcastbios. High-resolution photos of cast members, plus a detailed event overview and cast list, are below.)
Executed on June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are two of the most widely recognized victims of the anti-communist hysteria that swept the United States in the 1950s. Their two sons, Robert and Michael Meeropol, and granddaughter, Jenn Meeropol, who soon will take over leadership of the RFC from her father, will join on stage with other notables to mark the anniversary of the execution by recommitting themselves to carry forward the RFC’s support of the children of contemporary political prisoners and other parents who have faced severe repression because of their work for social justice. These children suffer like the Rosenbergs’ sons did, from the time of their parents’ arrest in 1950 until their execution three years later.
About the Rosenberg Fund for Children
The Rosenberg Fund for Children (www.rfc.org) is a public foundation that was started by Robert Meeropol, who was orphaned in 1953 at age six when his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed at the height of the McCarthy Era.
In 1990 Robert figured out how he could repay the progressive community that helped him survive. He founded the RFC to help children of targeted activists in the U.S. today- children who are experiencing the same nightmare he and his brother endured as youngsters.
Since then, the RFC has awarded nearly $5 million dollars to benefit close to a thousand children in the U.S. whose parents have been targeted because of their involvement in progressive movements including the struggles to preserve civil liberties, wage peace, safeguard the environment, combat racism and homophobia, and organize on behalf of workers, prisoners, immigrants and others whose human rights are under threat.