We’re in the midst of awarding our fall 2017 grants. To date, six new grantees have joined the RFC community and additional new applications are pending. So far, the new grantees include:
- The daughter, age nine, whose mother is the point person for OURWalmart in her state. In retaliation for her efforts to ensure fair working practices for herself and her co-workers, she has faced bullying and harassment on the job, had her hours cut to part-time and was just fired, causing her family significant financial and emotional strain. In addition to dealing with her mom being hospitalized several times for stress-related issues and witnessing the harassment firsthand when she visited her mother at work, this young girl was forced to leave her supportive private school because her family could no longer afford the tuition. An RFC grant of $2000 will cover the cost of home schooling and hopefully help ease the social and emotional strain of the past few years. MS
- The 21-year-old targeted activist youth (TAY) who has been a vocal and visible part of Black Lives Matters since the murder of Mike Brown and the subsequent uprising in Ferguson. This son of longtime civil and human rights activists is an outspoken presence at protests, was part of an effort to transport safe drinking water to Flint, MI and operates a program that helps to feed, tutor and find temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness in his community. As a result, police harassed him at rallies and in his neighborhood and he was denied an academic scholarship because of his involvement in BLM, which the funder called a "hate group." A student at an HBCU, he is struggling to pay his educational expenses. An RFC Carry it Forward award (CIF) and a TAY Development grant will help him with these costs. MD
- The 18-year-old sister of the young activist described above, whose parents’ activism spans 30 years. They have been involved in the anti-apartheid movement; working for the restoration of civil rights of convicted felons; and involved in efforts for Darfur. As a result of her parents’ actions, the FBI has harassed the entire family; agents ransacked their house, confiscated the family’s computer for a year; and intimidated the parents by detailing the location of their daughter’s school and describing her extracurricular activities. While overseas, her father was arrested by local police, who claimed U.S. agents told them he was a drug trafficker and terrorist! A CIF award will help her pay for books and other expenses while she adjusts to her first year in college. MO
- A 15-year-old girl whose mother is a registered hospice nurse who has fought to combat racism within the medical community. The mom started an organization which addresses "patient racial refusal" (when a patient refuses a healthcare provider because of the provider's race). As a result of her organizing and public speaking, this mom faced harassment and eventually lost her job; since then she has been blacklisted in her profession despite 25 years of experience and 10 years in her specialty field. She recently won unemployment benefits due to the wrongful termination, but the compensation is a fraction of her former salary. This teenager needs her wisdom teeth removed and is in significant discomfort as she waits for the procedure which, in a sad irony, her mother cannot afford despite the years she spent alleviating the pain of her patients. A special RFC grant will cover the cost of the procedure. OK
- Two siblings, ages 10 and 13, whose parents have been arrested over two dozen times for nonviolent protests against military aggression overseas and for their efforts to support the victims of U.S. war-making. Both parents have refused to pay fines for their actions, unwilling to fund military expenses. The government began garnishing hundreds of dollars in fines from them involuntarily last year, creating enormous stress for the entire family. $2,898 in grants from the RFC will allow the children to continue their violin lessons, which the family would otherwise be unable to afford. NC
- Five children, ages five to 17, who have had to grow up without their father since he was the target of an FBI sting. After founding a Mosque and working to build interfaith alliances and educate people about the peaceful aspects of Islam, he faced ongoing surveillance and harassment from agents. An informant infiltrated his mosque and tried to convince him to break the law; agents followed him and his family, and taped his conversations. Eventually, fearing he would suffer the same fate as other outspoken Muslim activists in his community and face manufactured material support for terrorism charges, he left the country in order to alleviate the persecution against him and his family. His wife now works multiple jobs to try to support the children, who miss their dad and fear additional reprisals. RFC grants for all five siblings totaling $7,500 will allow them to continue their education in a nurturing environment which includes individual attention and Arabic language instruction. NY
I am so grateful that the RFC stands with these families as they fight against injustice despite truly harrowing circumstances, and I thank every RFC supporter for making our aid possible.