On the 63rd Anniversary of My Grandparents' Executions

Today is the anniversary of my grandparents’ executions. As it approached, I prepared the statement below reflecting on the date’s significance. Many members of the Rosenberg Fund for Children network have firsthand memories of the grief and fear the executions elicited among left-wing progressives at the time – a community that felt very much under attack in that moment in history. Sixty three years later I still hear from people who were shaken to their core, but whose response was to resist the repression they were experiencing.

A week ago, another community in this country was targeted in an incomprehensibly heinous way with the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. But they’re also standing strong, and allies are standing with them.

The mission of the RFC is to aid families who are on the front lines of the fight for justice, dignity, and well-being for all, despite great personal risk. Today, more than ever, I recommit myself to the RFC’s mission of protecting and embracing them.

In solidarity,

Jenn Meeropol

My grandparents were executed 63 years ago today. In the ensuing decades, our understanding of their case has evolved and become more nuanced. But one aspect has remained constant: our knowledge that they were viciously targeted in an era when those in power exploited widespread suspicion and fear to quash dissent.

During the hysteria of the Red Scare, it was “communist sympathizers” who were cast as dangerous enemies. Now we have hatemongers screaming about the threats posed by Muslims, immigrants, and transgender people; and by activists resisting police brutality, organizing to stop the destruction of our environment, and standing up for the LGBTQI community, workers, prisoners, and others whose rights and lives under threat.

We can’t let this horrifying resurgence of McCarthy-like targeting go unchallenged. We have to fight it. The RFC is committed to helping kids whose families are on the frontlines in these struggles, and are paying a terrible price as a result.

We know how brutal these attacks can be and how particularly devastating they are when children are involved. But we also know the power of community. That’s why we need your help more than ever to keep providing vital aid to this generation’s “children of resistance,” like the ones below:

“Naomi” and “Mia” were eight and 15 when their father was sentenced to 65 years in prison! The U.S. government claimed he provided material support for terrorism when in fact their dad ran a charity that supported organizations working for peace in the Middle East. Despite a first trial that resulted in a hung jury and a second trial tainted by accusations of prosecutorial improprieties, their father has been incarcerated for the past eight years. Their only contact has been letters, phone calls, and infrequent prison visits during which they’ve faced harassment from guards. The girls desperately miss their dad and have had to watch him struggle through the death of their older sister while dealing with their own grief. An RFC Attica Fund Prison Visit grant will allow the girls to continue to see their father.

With your help, the RFC is making a real difference in the lives of these kids and others whose parents resist despite attacks and reprisals.

Please show these families that you support them by making a tax-deductible contribution to the RFC today.  We must never let them feel that they stand alone!

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