New Grants for Children of Environmental, Prisoners' Rights, and Human Rights Activists

We just completed awarding our last grants of 2014 at the RFC. In all, seven new grantees joined the RFC community this fall (five families and two targeted activist youth). I described some of these families in an earlier post here). The additional new grantees include:

  • The three-year-old son whose mother is a human rights activist.  As a teenager she worked for environmental justice and against police brutality and faced harassment and abuse by law enforcement on several occasions.   She’s also been an active supporter of prisoners’ rights and for years has worked with an incarcerated political prisoner on several projects including providing alternative programming for inmates.  The warden was supportive of the program, but when it became more successful both the warden and the inmate were transferred. She was denied visitation, accused of illegal conspiring with a prisoner, and threatened with prosecution and incarceration.  An RFC grant will provide childcare with an artistic and cultural focus for her son, who has suffered through family disruption and trauma as a result of the targeting his mother experienced.
  • A 23-year-old targeted activist youth who was threatened with a subpoena by the FBI to appear before a Grand Jury investigating May Day protests in 2012.  Activists in the community considered the investigation an attack on several local social justice groups.  With the support of his community he chose to flee the country and live in Canada for 20 months to avoid the subpoena.  While in Canada he was continually harassed by police and Canadian Secret Intelligence Service.  He also had to suffer the separation from his family while they coped with his brother’s death and funeral.  He returned to the U.S. once the investigation had ended. He continues to be harassed by the FBI and is unable to find a steady job.  A $1000 Development Grant will support his emotional and educational needs, including tuition for him to take a training course in conflict resolution. OR
  • The twin six-year-old son and daughter of a former political prisoner who was incarcerated for more than 11 years as a result of actions taken to oppose U.S. support for South Africa’s apartheid regime.  After his release from prison, the activist father dedicated himself to anti-death penalty work, an end to isolation and control units, and campaigns for the release of political prisoners in the U.S.  He faced ongoing harassment and surveillance from law enforcement agencies. The Dept. of Homeland Security identified him as a potential terrorist, and two major cities’ newspapers plus a national television news program identified him as a “terrorist.” He has been unable to maintain full-time employment since his release from prison despite obtaining certification in his field; on two separate occasions he lost jobs when the FBI called his employer. His children have suffered from the targeting and experienced harassment at school for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance (one teacher tried to physically force his son to place his hand over his heart). An RFC grant will allow the children to attend a progressive school that believes “ethnically abundant educational community enhances the quality of a child’s academic and intellectual experience.” MA

We welcome all the new members of the RFC Family and thank our supporters for making it possible for us to stand with them.

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