Ever since I got involved in community organizing in 1980, I’ve seen numerous people and organizations struggle to survive while they worked relentlessly on issues of social justice for the common good.
As I can personally attest, and as can anybody who has ever toiled and bled for a cause or issue that they believe in, you’re crazy to think that anybody would do this for the money. Low pay, long hours, unknowingly donated cars, neglected health and damaged relationships are just some of the normal “benefits” one can expect when they take on a fight against what’s wrong in order to fix what should be. And maybe most ignominious of all, almost nobody knows your sacrifice except you and those you live and work with.
You gotta be crazy to do what we do.
And yet, all around Rhode Island, indeed throughout the country and around the world, people consciously choose to do this. I’ve always been amazed, and profoundly appreciative, at how many do so. Organizations and individuals come and go, the burn out rate is high, but more join in as the need arises, all willing to sacrifice, all willing to do what it takes. We owe a lot of people, collectively, a debt of gratitude for all the good they have done for us. But for the most part, that recognition and that appreciation rarely comes. Until now. The Red Bandana Fund was created to change that. By recognizing those among us who do so much for so little.
And we’re asking you to help us decide who deserves that recognition. We are seeking nominations from the community to recognize both unsung organizations, and individuals, that embody the spirit and work of Richard Walton and for the commitment they have shown to making the world a better place. Nominations are now being accepted for anyone you feel worthy of recognition. To nominate someone, simply email RedBandanaAward@gmail.com to receive the nomination form. In addition to providing contact info for the nominee, we are asking that you provide a 1 page description of why they deserve the award. Keep in mind that the committee members may have never heard of the person you nominate so the description you give will be go a long way in determining whether they win the award or not. The Nominee who wins this year’s award, will receive a cash gift and will be honored at the 2nd annual Red Bandana Celebration at Slater Mill on June 8th. The deadline is April 15th.
So what’s behind all this you ask? It’s all about an old friend who was the epitome of activism in Rhode Island for decades. The Red Bandana Fund was created to honor the memory of long-time, activist Richard Walton who passed away on December 27, 2012, after a long illness, leaving a huge hole in the hearts of the Rhode Island Progressive community. There is a remembrance post about Richard, published in two parts by RIFuture, here and here. On June 2, 2012, the First Annual Red Bandana Fund Concert was held to raise money for the fund and to give the First Award by the Fund to Amos House, an organization Richard was deeply involved in.
And now is your chance to nominate that unsung hero you have watched give so much to the rest of us. First, email RedBandanaAward@gmail.com and submit your nomination. And then secondly, help us honor the legacy of Richard Walton by coming to the 2nd annual Red Bandana Celebration at Slater Mill on June 8th and lending your support.
Of course, this is just a small token in payment to those we owe it to. But we hope to do this every year and to grow the fund to spread awareness, recognition and appreciation for the people and issues we hold so dear. And we hope you will be become a big part of it. Help us grow the Fund by donating and by joining us at our annual celebration to recognize those who deserve our thanks so much. We’re all in this together. Let’s prove we can make it work.
Contact: RedBandanaAward@gmail.com for nominations
RedBandanafund@gmail.com for information