This summer marks my 10th year as a staff member at the Rosenberg Fund for Children. While I no longer feel like a new employee, it’s hard to believe I’ve worked here for a decade. I joined the RFC as the Granting Coordinator in 2007. I stayed in that role until the fall of 2011, when I became the Associate Director. I spent the next 18 months working closely with my father, Robert Meeropol, as he prepared to retire as Executive Director (a position he’d held since he started the organization in the fall of 1990). In September of 2013, I became the second Executive Director of the RFC.
My 10th anniversary coincided with my attendance at the 2017 Left Forum conference in New York City. I’ve attended this annual gathering of radical activists, academics and organizations for a number of years, and the RFC is committed to continuing to have a presence at the event. At this year’s opening plenary, I was struck by the strong sense of connection I felt to so many in the room. Headlined by RFC friends and allies—including Sekou Odinga, Linda Sarsour and, via video, Oscar López Rivera— the panel felt like a reunion. Everywhere I looked were familiar faces: RFC supporters, former political prisoners, current and former beneficiaries, leaders of social justice organizations and radical faculty members.
As I exchanged greetings and hugs with a number of the attendees, I thought about what a gift it was to have that sense of connection and camaraderie in the midst of dangerous, repressive times. That’s what the RFC tries to provide our beneficiaries through our grants and programs like the Gathering: a supportive community that shares their values, understands their challenges and pain, and stands with them to make things better, especially for the most vulnerable among us.
The feeling of belonging I experienced at Left Forum was powerful. I was grateful for the connections I made with individuals I’d seen there over the years, for the opportunity to spend time with others I’d only communicated with via phone or email, and for the chance to meet inspiring individuals and organizations that I hope to work with in the future.
I was probably more attuned to the emotional impact of attending Left Forum because I had transitions on my mind. In addition to reflecting on my first decade at the RFC, I was processing an additional, bittersweet change: my father leaving the RFC staff. While he officially “retired” in 2013, he continued to work part-time for us the last few years, spearheading our endowment campaign and working closely with me and the rest of the staff on the effort to exonerate his mother. He remains on the Board and I know he’s only a phone call away. But something about the juxtaposition of marking my 10 years at the RFC, my father fully retiring, and the feelings evoked by attending Left Forum was especially poignant for me.
This anniversary reminded me of the importance of taking the time to appreciate milestones. So thank you for letting me be part of the RFC for the last decade. And a special thank you to my dad for creating this wonderful organization, nurturing it for decades and trusting me to carry it forward.
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