RFC News

RFC Founder Robert Meeropol's new op-ed for TIME draws critical parallels between the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol and lynch mobs in the American South: "The Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6th have been called seditious rioters, insurrectionists and domestic terrorists. I think of them as a lynch mob. Perhaps that’s because Abel Meeropol, who wrote the anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit,” was my father." Read the essay here

Six years ago RFC Founder Robert Meeropol's blog  “Strange Convergence” compared details of the life of his mother, Ethel Rosenberg, to that of Billie Holiday, the singer who made Abel Meeropol’s song, “Strange Fruit,” famous. Ethel and Billie appeared to be an unlikely couple. However, they were both born in poverty in 1915, had excellent singing voices, although Billie’s surpassed Ethel’s, and were precocious.  Ethel graduated high school at 15 and helped lead a victorious strike at 19, while Billie sang in Harlem clubs at 17, and was a successful recording artist by 20. And they both got in trouble with the law, which led to their untimely deaths. Finally, there’s the Abel Meeropol connection; Abel adopted Ethel’s children and wrote Billie’s most famous song. And now, a new convergence has emerged. Read all about it in Robert Meeropol's new blog

RFC staff are continuing to work remotely and our office remains closed indefinitely. To make it easier for our community to contact us, we've set up temporary phone numbers: please call 508-275-2258 for all granting inquiries and 413-239-2711 for all other questions.   You can also reach us via email (all granting and application questions can be directed to Tori at granting@rfc.org; press inquiries and donation or general questions to Rachel at  info@rfc.org and our Executive Director Jenn  can be reached at jenn@rfc.org).

"This has felt like the longest, most monumental election of my lifetime." RFC Executive Director Jenn Meeropol shares her thoughts on 2020 and reports on the RFC's record-breaking fall granting cycle. Learn more, including how you can stand with the children of targeted activists at this critical time, here.

October 13th is the fall deadline to submit an application for grant support. You can find our basic info sheet and downloadable application documents on our granting applications page here.

If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to reach out to Sophie Chambers, who manages the grants program. Sophie is available to answer any questions you have about the application process, eligibility, use of funds,or other grant-related topics.

Grant applications are reviewed by our Board of Directors in November and families will hear from us with final decisions by early December.

"My wife’s fourth novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, was published in April. It’s the story of Esther and Rosa, whose arrests during an anti-Vietnam War protest tear the sisters apart. It’s fiction, but it hits close to home. Elli has said that she never intended to write a novel about the Rosenberg Case. Still, it is hard to miss the parallels between my parents’ case and Elli’s story."

Robert shares his thoughts on his wife's latest novel, it's connections to the RFC, and "the most satisfying experience of his adult work life" in a new blog post here.

While we wish we could all safely gather together to celebrate the RFC's 30th anniversary, we are thrilled to be able to offer this virtual program to mark this milestone.

The five videos that form the discussion were taped on Saturday, May 9th via Zoom, bringing together participants in South America as well as the east and west coast of the United States to discuss inter-generational activism, repression, local and global community, and where to find inspiration in difficult times as well music and poetry from activist artists. Watch the videos here, then head over to our blog to share your feedback.

Kids wondering if their father will go to prison this summer for participating in a nonviolent demonstration. Young siblings staying with relatives as their dad—already struggling financially after he was fired from his job for his organizing—couch surfs while their mom self-isolates with a fever and other worrisome symptoms. These and so many more hardships are what our beneficiary families are dealing with right now due to the COVID-19 crisis and the inept response of the federal government.

Read Executive Director Jenn Meeropol's thoughts on this extraordinary anniversary here.