We’re 18-months into the global pandemic, and for the first time in a while – we’re hopeful.
With the U.S.’s COVID vaccine rollout this spring and summer showing promising results, the RFC began our long-awaited return to in-person activities in 2021.
We remain cautious, particularly with so many still without access to vaccines, magnified by systems of inequalities playing out on the global scale. As local COVID rates dropped into the “green zone” we were able to transition RFC activities safely. A few of our key highlights include:
- 30th Celebration - Last year the RFC successfully shifted our 30th anniversary event to the virtual stage. Assuming it’s safe to do so, we’ll host an in-person celebration of 30 years of the RFC on Saturday, Sept. 25th. (See the event page for details.)
- Office Reopening - Over the summer RFC staff returned to the office 2 days/week (remote-optional 3 days/week) and plan to continue in this hybrid fashion for now. Our remote phone numbers (and email) remain the best way to reach us.
- RFC Board of Directors - RFC staff & Board members gathered for a summertime BBQ, marking our first face-to-face gathering since before the pandemic (see photo).
For activist parents and families in the RFC community, the slow return to “normal” can be especially difficult as they continue to deal with the fallout from the targeting and harassment they experienced. Some have also reported delays accessing vaccines in their rural communities, and many are continuing to self-isolate as an added precaution. These are still difficult and unusual times.
Yet there are glimmers of hope; a growing number of grant requests pivoted back to in-person camps and recreational activities. For the 17-year-old son of a labor rights advocate, a 2020 grant helped him adjust to virtual learning at home; but with fall classes now returning to in-person, he used his spring 2021 grant to start music and acting lessons.
Another grantee, the 13-year-old daughter of a racial justice activist, was able to make the best of a difficult situation after the cultural program she received funds to attend temporarily closed due to COVID. She opted for lessons at a dance studio that remained open (while following CDC guidelines) and quickly discovered a passion for dance, making many new friends through her classes. For her 2021 spring grant she decided to continue her dance lessons and enrolled in a summer intensive program.
A family with an Attica grant was finally able to visit an incarcerated parent for the first time since the pandemic began (prisons/jails were largely closed to visitors while in lockdown due to high risk of COVID infection).
There remain many unknowns, but we’re hopeful that public health conditions will improve in all places, for all people. We’re monitoring COVID rates locally and will share relevant RFC updates on our website and social media platforms.