By Rachel Harb, Communications Manager
I started my new job as the RFC’s Communications Manager during the pandemic, exactly one year ago today. I'm feeling supported in my role and am finding the work to be challenging, meaningful, and exactly what I needed and was hoping to find in a new job.
So a little about what I do: I mainly focus on the communications and fundraising side of the RFC’s operations, which means many of you may have interacted with me in some form or other through the RFC’s emails, printed mailings like our seasonal newsletters, our social media pages, or somewhere in the process of submitting a donation to the RFC. Our team is pretty hands-on (I love this about the RFC), so I also play a role in fundraising, programmatic conversations and even occasionally assist with outreach to potential new grantees.
Since I was old enough to vote, I’ve immersed myself into political environments and personally leaned progressive. My entry point into politics at a young age was the looming realities of a climate crisis (lest we change our ways), and I began studying environmental science and policy-making. This led me down an unexpected rabbit hole into the politics of food and farming, which opened a door for me into food justice, racial justice and immigrants’ rights. Soon my eyes were opening to the complexities of systems of oppression, systems of inequity, at which point I began to feel a strong pull towards a new professional experience that would allow me to contribute, in whatever small ways I could, into fighting for a more just and humane world. Enter the RFC.
I learned about the RFC from a colleague who shared the Communications Manager job posting with me, and I was immediately drawn to their work and mission. When a parent on the frontlines of the fight for human rights (like racial justice, immigrants’ rights, prisoners’ rights, reproductive justice, environmental justice, etc) experiences targeting and retaliation in the form of a lost job, threats, physical violence or other negative impacts, it takes a toll on the whole family - how could it not?
I saw that the RFC supports these families by providing kids with funding for enrichment and cultural experiences and educational needs (think: sports teams, summer camps, music lessons, laptops/books, driving lessons, childcare) so that they can just be kids. The RFC also provides grants to fund therapy and counseling to help children heal from the impacts of their families’ targeting and has a special Attica grant fund that helps kids visit parents or grandparents who’ve been incarcerated for their activism.
Since I started working at the RFC, I’ve grown tremendously and learned from the stories of hundreds of progressive activists standing up for human rights, and seen how their resilience keeps them in the fight. I’ve come to learn so much more about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, whose activism inspired it all, than I ever could have learned in school. I’ve witnessed the enduring legacy of “Strange Fruit,” penned by Robert Meeropol’s father, poet and educator, Abel Meeropol, and Billie Holiday’s exceptional bravery in refusing to stop singing the anti-lynching protest song, despite what it cost her.
If I could give this past year a theme, it would be “humbled.” I’m humbled by the activism that inspired the founding of the RFC, the courageousness of activist parents and their children, the absolutely amazing team of staff I work with every day, the passionate and dedicated Board members, the collection of talented artists and activists on the Advisory Board, and the unceasing outpouring of support from donors and other community members, many of whom have reached out to share their stories with us, for which I am so grateful.
It has been an exceptional first year with the RFC, and I’m looking forward to many, many more.
So grateful for all that you do in the RFC mission!
Congrats on your first year (hopefully of many) with RFC. I have been a contributing member for several years and know the valuable work you all do...
So, you're gonna stick with this job for awhile? Good.
An old friend recently wrote with his opinion that the piecemeal attacks on the death penalty won't cut it, but there needs to be a constitutional amendment abolishing the death penalty forever. I pointed out that the piecemeal attacks are what's keeping people from being executed, and state by state actions are having great results. But it's a good idea he has, and should be pursued. RFC is a great organization! Thanks for your good work.
This is a test of the blog comment issue.