I received an email three days ago from the mother of one of our Puerto Rican beneficiaries. It included a picture of her reaching out to touch her son through the cast iron fence that surrounds the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, campus. He has been an RFC beneficiary since the age of two, and now is one of the students on strike and occupying the campus.
One of my most enjoyable tasks as part of the staff transition underway at the RFC has been to review communication from beneficiaries from the past few years.
We’re in the midst of making our fall grants. During my six-plus years as granting coordinator this was both a favorite and difficult time of the year. I enjoyed hearing from the families we support, especially since many of them include updates about both their situations and their children with their requests for funding. But it’s also difficult to read the stories of hardship and on going trauma to children and families.
My book group almost exclusively reads fiction; usually political fiction, often written by women. In general, I prefer reading novels rather than non-fiction, so I was surprised by how moved I was by the first non-fiction book my group read this year: Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (http://andrewsolomon.com/books/far-from-the-tree/).
One of my favorite parts of my job is receiving out-of-the-blue emails and letters from beneficiary families wanting to update us on their activism, their lives or their children. I received such an email a few days ago from an activist dad who shared a reflection his 19-year-old daughter, Moira, wrote about her recent alternative spring break trip.
We just completed our spring granting cycle and I’m happy to welcome two new beneficiary families and another targeted activist youth to our community. These new grantees include:
As we move into Autumn, I’m reminded that until recently my work at this time of year focused on our fall granting cycle. I spent my days doing outreach to potential beneficiaries, connecting with current grantees, and helping new applicants understand our guidelines and application process.
We’re in the midst of our fall granting cycle this month at the RFC. We’ve made our first of two sets of awards. Already, four families and one targeted activist youth have joined our community as new grant recipients. These new grantees include:
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:
I’ve always been an avid reader, especially of literary fiction. While I enjoy escaping into a fun novel, most of my favorite books are anything but frivolous reads. Instead, they tend to fall into the category of political fiction, exploring how people deal with forces that are often beyond their control and require them to confront dilemmas with no easy solutions.
We just completed awarding our first grants of 2015 at the RFC. In all, seven new grantees joined the RFC community this spring (five families, one targeted activist youth and one group). The new grantees include:
My name is Jacob Rivas, I’m a graduate of Oberlin College and a proud grant recipient of the Rosenberg Fund For Children. I’d like to share my story to thank the RFC for everything they’ve done for me and recognize what they continue to do for others.
In the fall of 2015 four new families received their first RFC grants. Including the seven new recipients in the spring, almost a dozen families and targeted activist youth joined the RFC community last year. With the $370,000 we awarded in 2015, our total granted since our founding has reached almost $6 million!
The new beneficiaries include:
Radical attorney and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart died Tuesday, March 7th at the age of 77 following an extended battle with cancer. In her lengthy career, this “people’s lawyer” defended Black Panthers, Weather Underground members and other outsiders. As Lynne explained in a 2015 interview with Guernica, "I'm particularly committed to the political people who needed defense. They're out there fighting the government on behalf of everybody."
We’re in the midst of awarding our first grants of 2017 at the RFC. To date, four new grantees have joined the RFC community this spring and additional new applications are pending. So far, the new grantees include:
We just finished awarding over $190,000 in grants for the first half of 2017. In addition to the four new beneficiaries discussed in my previous blog , three more new families have joined the RFC community this spring. These new grantees include:
My mother, Ellen Meeropol, calls herself "a literary late bloomer.” After careers in art and medicine, she started seriously writing fiction eighteen years ago when she was well into her 50s, and has had three novels published in the past six years. Her books explore themes that are likely familiar to many Rosenberg Fund for Children grantees and supporters. As her website notes:
A few weeks ago I received an email from a former RFC beneficiary who I’ve stayed in touch with over the years. She contacted me to respond to the blogs my dad and I wrote about our thoughts on the current immigration crisis and family separations. She shared updates about her family, her thoughts on the blogs and sent me the link to her recent post on the topic.
“My daughter studied the KKK at school... she is not only worried about the government repression [for my organizing] but about the possibility of racist physical attacks against us as well.”
My wife’s fourth novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, was published in April. It’s the story of Esther and Rosa, whose arrests during an anti-Vietnam War protest tear the sisters apart. It’s fiction, but it hits close to home.
Today is the 68th anniversary of my grandparents’ execution. But since the start of the year I’ve been more focused on an anniversary we just passed: April 5th marked exactly 70 years since Judge Kaufman sentenced my grandparents to death. Many of you know the nightmare my father and uncle experienced after their parents’ arrest, conviction and execution but this recent milestone has me thinking about the more intangible consequences of the loss of my grandparents and so many others who resisted repression and are still resisting today.