Guest blog by Robert Meeropol, Rosenberg Fund for Children Founder & son of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg
It has been a year since the release of David Greenglass’s grand jury testimony in which he denied my mother, Ethel Rosenberg’s, involvement in espionage. This was the final element necessary for me to pursue a plan I’d thought about for decades.
Today is the anniversary of my grandparents’ executions. As it approached, I prepared the statement below reflecting on the date’s significance. Many members of the Rosenberg Fund for Children network have firsthand memories of the grief and fear the executions elicited among left-wing progressives at the time – a community that felt very much under attack in that moment in history. Sixty three years later I still hear from people who were shaken to their core, but whose response was to resist the repression they were experiencing.
Most of you probably know about D.W. Griffith’s horrible 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation. It glorified the Ku Klux Klan. President Woodrow Wilson, a virulent racist, showed it in the White House.
Last month, we made our first grants of 2016. We added six new families and individuals to the RFC community and awarded more than $190,000 overall to both new and existing beneficiaries. This brings our total granted since our founding to over $6 million!
Our new recipients include:
In our spring newsletter we announced that Gina Belafonte is the latest addition to our Advisory Board. This group is comprised of artists, activists, public intellectuals, and others with valuable skills or expertise, who publicly endorse our work and take other actions to support us in special ways. Gina – an actor/director/producer and activist – co-directs Sankofa.org, the organization her father Harry started to encourage artists to use their visibility to further movements for social justice. Harry Belafonte also has been on our Advisory Board since 2003.
Many prominent individuals have been part of this group over the years, including in memoriam members Pete & Toshi Seeger, Studs Terkel, Adrienne Rich, Ossie Davis, Ronnie Gilbert, and Richie Havens. Well-known present members include Angela Davis, Susan Sarandon, Chuck D, Eve Ensler, Holly Near, Ed Asner, and Mandy Patinkin, among others.
But whether or not they’re household names, all members of the RFC’s Advisory Board have powerful credentials and do exciting work in different realms. Here are short profiles of several of them.