I’ve always felt it was very important for the RFC to maintain its focus. The core of our mission is summed up in just a few words: providing for the educational and emotional needs of the children of targeted progressive activists in the United States. For the most part the RFC does not get involved with or endorse the myriad of progressive campaigns and events taking place nationwide at any given time, except when something has a direct impact on our beneficiaries.
One exception, although I don’t really consider it one, is that the RFC has taken stands in support of human rights in response to our government’s post-9/11 repression. I’m not sure this is really an exception because this repression poses a threat to all progressive activists and their families. Thus, the RFC was proud to present a free dramatic reading of Guantánamo; Honor Bound to Defend Freedom to 600 members of our local community to celebrate our 15th anniversary in 2005.
I am writing this post for the same reason.
Nancy Talanian, a local activist and friend of mine, has recently started a project entitled “No More Guantánamos.” ( http://www.nogitmos.org). I have lifted the following, with minor editorial adjustments, from their website: “No More Guantánamos is a coalition of concerned citizens, communities, organizations, and pro-bono attorneys representing detainees who are working together to ensure justice and human rights for the prisoners. [It is an effort to]: Transform prisoners’ images in the U.S. from faceless, nameless 'terrorists' to human beings who deserve fair treatment and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty; use prisoners’ stories to overcome unfounded fears of prisoners in your community; enable prisoners cleared for release but who can’t return home to settle in the U.S. or help them get where they want to go; hold the government accountable for violations of human rights laws and for implementing laws and policies to prevent future violations.”
Although I have almost no spare time, I can’t resist providing what little help I can to this grassroots effort to ameliorate a terrible wrong. The first thing that struck me about this campaign was how achievable at least some of its goals were. There are only about 200 men left at Guantánamo. It is hard for me to believe that there aren’t dozens of progressive communities in our country who would gladly welcome those who are cleared for release but unable to return to their home countries, even as many others recoil in horror at the thought of letting these “monsters” into their midst. Collectively these communities could easily take in all those cleared for release. While this is only an initial step, what an incredible teaching moment and opportunity to effectuate our support for human rights.
I hope some who read this will be inspired to visit the No More Guantánamos website and perhaps start a committee in their community.