Looking back on 2021 I am reminded of Charles Dickens’ famous opening line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The worsts are unfortunately easy to list and include a violent, reactionary and unhinged former president; a global health crisis that killed millions; climate degradation and disaster across the continents; a growing crisis at our borders fed by racist, xenophobic immigration policy; continued war, famine and global strife; and ever-growing income inequality.
But the bests give me such profound hope. Millions of young people fighting for climate justice and their future; continued organizing for racial justice, abolition and an end to the carceral state; growing efforts to force Amazon and other exploitative businesses to pay a living wage, offer benefits and end hostile workplaces; and so much more.
We saw these bests and worsts in the deluge of new applications from activists whose children received their first grants from the Rosenberg Fund for Children this fall. New members of our community include a young activist who was hit by a senior public official’s car (driven by a police officer!) at a BLM protest but remains committed to his efforts despite ongoing targeting which cost him his housing. Four children, ages one to 15, whose mom shared her abortion story as part of a national program protesting Alabama’s restrictive new anti-choice law, resulting in harassment from her community, the loss of her non-profit and targeting of the kids in the local public school, forcing them to relocate. A prominent racial justice advocate and mom whose family has been swatted numerous times, terrorizing her three kids, ages 11 to 17, and making it impossible for her to leave them home alone or safely drive them to school without being followed or harassed.
And these are just a few of the new families asking for vital help for their kids this fall. The need was so great that we once again increased our granting budget and awarded more than $410,000 in grants this year. That’s our largest annual total in our history and includes over $44,000 to 17 new families in 2021!
We are depending on you to make this increase sustainable. Your continued support of the RFC is one important way to push back against the hate and divisiveness that feels as contagious as the pandemic. This is the time to show your solidarity by making a special, year-end donation to the Rosenberg Fund for Children. The young people your contribution will support right now include:
- Just 13, Steve was raised by environmental activists; after learning about Greta Thunberg he began to protest in his town center every Friday afternoon to try to raise awareness about climate change and the dire need to act now. He asked for permission to make up his school work on weekends, as many other students at his Waldorf school were allowed to do, but his teacher denied his request, expelled him and refused to allow him to inform his classmates why he was leaving. Steve desperately misses his friends and sense of community but, “I thought about it for a while and decided that trying to help deal with global heating was more important than seeing my friends.” He has continued his protests despite facing harassment from passersby, including "coal rollers" who used their trucks to smog him nearly every week. An RFC grant will allow Steve to buy the parts to build a computer as part of his homeschool curriculum.
- Gina’s mom has been trying to bring attention to Amazon’s human rights violations, especially the pregnancy discrimination that is causing miscarriages across the country. As an Amazon worker, she organized walkouts, spoke out against hazardous working conditions and documented what she and her co-workers experienced during the pandemic. In retaliation, Amazon sent strange men to surveil her and her home, alarming her and her daughter and forcing her to leave her job. The harassment impacted her and her daughter’s mental health, caused financial and emotional distress and eventually forced them to move in with her mother. An RFC grant will pay for tutoring to help Gina stay on track at school while they rebuild their life.
So many of us are tired, discouraged and frankly depressed by our current reality and fearful of the future. But we are not helpless in the face of these attacks. We can come together as a community to support activist families and young activists. And when we do, we’re carrying on a long tradition of resistance that is very personal for me. After my grandparents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed at the height of the McCarthy Era Red Scare, my father and uncle survived in part because courageous people worked hard to make sure they had the resources they needed to thrive in a protective, loving home. I know we’re ready to give that same safe harbor to children of activists facing attacks today.
Your gift will connect children to vital, nurturing programs. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. I pledge that 90% of the funds you donate in response to this report will be awarded in current or future grants.
The RFC has been aiding kids like those described above, and many others, efficiently and effectively for more than three decades. The need is urgent but together we can resist the onslaught targeting our community’s brave families. Let’s stand together to support those pushing back against the worst of these times and doing their best to build a brighter future for us all. Please show your support now with a meaningful year-end donation to the RFC.
Your help has never been more critical.