(guest blog by RFC Communications Director, Amber Black)
Two topics consistently engage our supporters more than any others: the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the song “Strange Fruit.” It’s been 65 years since the parents of our founder were executed, and 80 years since Abel Meeropol (the man who along with his wife Anne, adopted the Rosenbergs’ orphaned sons) wrote the anti-lynching anthem first as a poem and then set it to music.
But all these decades later, both the case and the song pop up virtually every day in a huge array of contexts including hard news and popular culture. So we’ve begun to spotlight them in a “Strange Fruit” and Rosenberg “Mention of the Day” on our social media.
Last fall the RFC was a sponsor of the first-ever Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award presented by Straw Dog Writers Guild to poet Patricia Smith. The Guild was co-founded by my mother, Ellen Meeropol (a member of the RFC’s Advisory Board). My father, Robert Meeropol, spoke at the event about his adoptive father, Abel. The following essay was adapted from my dad’s speech. – Jenn Meeropol
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.
Last week Angels in America closed after a triumphant, award-winning revival on Broadway, more than a quarter century after it first took the theater world by storm.
Images of small children in cages, crying for their parents, have flooded my email and social media. I’m saddened and enraged as a human being, and as a US citizen I’m appalled by what the government is doing in all of our names.