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On the 71st anniversary of my grandparents’ executions

Report from Executive Director Jennifer Meeropol: June 19, 2024

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the long struggle for justice and activist parents’ ability to remain committed to their causes knowing they may not see the fruits of their sacrifice in their lifetime. The fact that it’s now been more than 70 years since my grandparents’ executions is no doubt partially responsible for this introspection.

Seven decades after my grandparents’ death, we continue to make grants in their memory and in honor of so many of our beneficiary families’ persistence. This spring the RFC awarded over $230,000 in grants to provide critical assistance for hundreds of children of targeted activists, which brought the total granted in our history to over $9 million! While I hope you share my pride in that achievement, the stories behind this enormous number temper my sense of accomplishment and bring more sorrow than joy.

Applications for support for too many of these families include details about years of struggle, justice deferred or denied and so many children whose lives have been upended by the attacks against their parents. The dramatic increase in applications over the past few years has the RFC bursting at the seams, and we fear an avalanche of applications in the fall given the recent arrests of thousands of student protesters.

We’ve increased our granting budget to meet the need trusting that you will stand with us and allow us to make this and additional support this fall possible. Here are a couple examples of recent grants and the years of work and sacrifice behind them:

The RFC first began supporting the family of Leonard Peltier, who is serving two life sentences for his role in the American Indian Movement, more than 20 years ago. Over the last 47 years, activist communities around the country have fought alongside family members for his freedom. During Leonard’s incarceration, we have provided the family with grants to visit him to allow Leonard to see his children and grandchildren, and, most recently, to meet his great-grandchildren.

In the summer of 2013, Mikaela’s uncle was brutally murdered by police. Her mom began to organize weekly protests demanding justice, both for him and the countless other victims of police brutality. For the last 11 years, Mikaela’s mom has protested weekly in her city and spoken all across the country about the need for police reform. Despite threats, attacks on her property, and harassment, she remains committed to fighting for justice while supporting her daughter. Continued grants for cheerleading and gymnastics have provided Mikaela a safe outlet throughout her youth.

With your help, the RFC is making a significant difference in the lives of these young people and hundreds of others like them. Since 1990 our grants have funded therapy, sports, arts programs, summer camp, prison visits, and other educational and therapeutic opportunities vital to helping these kids not just survive, but thrive. Your donations support the children of targeted union organizers, brutalized anti-racist activists, fired teachers, harassed journalists, environmentalists behind bars and so many more.

The Rosenberg Fund for Children makes grants that help alleviate the nightmarish experiences of political repression by connecting kids to a nurturing community. Times are hard and finances remain tight, but I bet you can think of few things more worthy of your support than bringing solace to these kids. This is your opportunity to embrace all of these children and assure them that we are with them for the long haul.

You know we will use your precious funds carefully. The RFC has been helping kids and youth like these efficiently and effectively for almost 35 years. 90% of every dollar you contribute in response to this letter will be awarded to children like those described above.

One beneficiary mom, who began her advocacy for accountability in her daughter’s school years ago, recently shared, “Almost every bright spot my kids had in the past few years has been at your hands. I am forever grateful that you chose to change the world through my children.” Choosing to change the world through our amazing grantees is as fabulous and accurate a description of the Rosenberg Fund for Children as I’ve ever heard and I’m honored that it’s how this family experiences our grants.

Please consider making a special donation to support the RFC’s vital work in honor of all of our beneficiaries’ families’ commitment to a better world; in the hope that my father and uncle will finally achieve justice for their parents and our family; and to help ensure that no child stands alone when their parents fight for justice despite attacks. I know you will be most generous.

Jennifer Meeropol, Executive Director

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