We’re in the midst of our fall granting cycle this month at the RFC. We’ve made our first of two sets of awards. Already, four families and one targeted activist youth have joined our community as new grant recipients. These new grantees include:
- A one-year-old who was just an infant when his parents, environmental activists in the Western U.S., faced escalating attacks from those who opposed their attempts to safeguard public forests and water supplies from destructive logging and mining activities. Someone distributed a “wanted” poster in the family’s community containing their home address and the dad’s photo. The poster also appeared on social media, where people added comments about their desire to shoot, stab, beat and torture the family in retaliation for the parents’ conservation work. A man reported that he had visited the family's home and gave others advice on how to best gain entrance and harm them. A $2000 RFC grant will allow this little boy to spend time in a safe, enriching daycare while his parents process the trauma of the last year and work to get back on their feet.
- Three children, ages eight to 18, whose mother was a leader in the right of return movement in New Orleans, organizing to demand the opportunity for residents to come home to their public housing units post-Katrina. She crossed police lines, organized clean-ups of apartments slated to be demolished, led marches, fought against police brutality and finally stood in front of bulldozers to try to halt the destruction of housing. In retaliation, she was harassed, arrested and convicted on false assault charges after calling the police to report an attack on her teenage daughter. The judge, who denigrated activists from the bench during the trial, demanded that she begin serving her four-year sentence on the day of her conviction, leaving her shattered children to struggle without her. A $2000 Attica Prison Visit Program grant will allow these siblings to see their mom and help them to endure this separation.
- A targeted activist youth (TAY) who was recently released after serving more than two years in prison after facing charges of armed violence. He was one of 18 members of an anti-racist organization who confronted a white supremacist group meeting at a local restaurant. A brawl ensued, but only the anti-racists were charged despite numerous prior violent convictions of many of the white supremacists. A $1000 Development Grant for a computer will help with his job search and education.
- Three children, ages three to four, whose father was a supervisor at a major manufacturing company. He repeatedly spoke out about the company’s neglect of worker and consumer safety measures; in response, management stopped communicating with him, locked him out of the building and fired him. He refused a generous severance package since it was contingent on his silence; instead he filed numerous cases which are still pending. He was arrested, attacked, and seriously injured when a police officer informed him he had to leave an event he had been invited to attend. The officer pushed him (dislocating an already injured shoulder), knocked him down, beat and kicked him and refused to treat his injuries. He faces charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; despite multiple surgeries he is currently incapacitated and partially paralyzed. An emergency RFC grant awarded this summer sent the children, all of whom have special needs, to camp while their dad struggles to recover.
We welcome all the new members of the RFC Family and thank our supporters for making it possible for us to stand with them.
To receive a notification whenever there is a new post to this blog, click here.