A New Organization for Arts for Social Justice

Letter published in Jewish Currents, vol. 66 no. 1 (662) Summer/Autumn 2011, p. 77

[bracketed sections not included in printed version]

I want to applaud JEWISH CURRENTS' diligent and even-handed review by Carol Jochnowitz of the latest books on the Rosenberg case by Emily Alman & her widower David, and by Walter Schneir & his widow Miriam ("The Rosenberg Case: What's Left to Discuss," Winter, 2010-11.) Having been active in the National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case for over thirty-five years, I believe there is much to be gained by listening to a wide spectrum of opinions on the case, as well as by celebrating the large cultural legacy of poets, artists and musicians who have been inspired by the human drama it has represented.

Over the past half century, a number of us have amassed a significant collection of musical and artistic materials relating to social justice, particularly but not exclusively relating to the Rosenberg case. We believe the time has come to create a new organization devoted to the preservation of those materials, and the creation & promotion of works of art and music dear to so many of us. We are therefore proposing the formation of an International Committee on the Arts for Social Justice [- ICASJ].

Many of you have attended meetings in which we have participated in a leadership role in the past. Many of those events were preserved on video. Some have been posted on YouTube, including a 1991 speech by longtime Jewish Currents Editor, Morris U. Schappes, and a 2010 message from the French Association pour le rexamen de l'affaire Rosenberg.
They are accessible at http: //ljlehrman.artists-in-residence.com/ljlehrmanvideos.html .
With this new organization, we plan to renew our commitment to: respect for individual initiatives, consensus, cultural commemoration, research, and education, and to honor those who have spoken truth to power even when it was dangerous to do so[: Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Alfred Dreyfus, Emile Zola, Anatole France, Emma Goldman, Margaret Sanger, Eugene Debs, Robert La Follette, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Earl Robinson, Sacco & Vanzetti, the Rosenbergs, Edith Segal, Lan Adomian, Hanns Eisler, Abel Meeropol, Marc Blitzstein, Elie Siegmeister, the Composers Collective, the Hollywood Ten, Corliss Lamont, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Martha Schlamme, Morris U. Schappes, Jacobo Timerman, Bill Kunstler, Aaron Katz, Arthur Kinoy, Bill Reuben, Walter Schneir, "Yip" Harburg, Martha Graham, Anna Sokolow, Lee Baxandall, Howard Zinn, Susan Blake, and many more].

Will you join us? All we ask is your contact information and your moral support.
Leonard J. Lehrman, D.M.A. ljlehrman@gmail.com
Thomas Smith, Ph.D. ThomasSmith436@comcast.net
Richard Corey honeyhill@optonline.net
Angelo d'Angelo Angelo4NY@aol.com
Rachel Treichler, Esq. [2006 Green Party candidate, NYS Attorney General] rachel@ecobooks.com