My name is Elliot Roseman and I’d like to share with you the legacy my wife Rena left behind when she passed away suddenly on her 63rd birthday, the night of November 2, 2018.
Rena accomplished so much for animals in her lifetime. Her journey was a gradual one which happened in four stages: a transition period, a decision to focus, a serious commitment, and a lifelong legacy. Perhaps you are currently in one of these stages in your own journey?
Rena’s intense compassion for animals began with our four-footed daughter, Cami, who came into our life in 2006. As Rena would put it, “You cannot look into those eyes, or know when she licks your face when you’re sad, that animals do not have souls and deep emotions.” Once Rena learned about factory farming, she knew that she could not support a system with such cruelty at its core. At that point, she knew she had to work to end it.
Rena was not flashy. She was not the type to stand up and give a speech, or rally people to the animal cause in a public way. Rather, she was a quiet ambassador for animals, changing minds and raising the awareness of those around her.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of groups – all with good intentions – working to improve animal welfare and working for animal rights. While the diversity and enthusiasm of each group is exciting, Rena decided that as a volunteer and supporter, she could make the biggest difference if she focused on a few.
So Rena did her homework and identified Animal Outlook (then called Compassion Over Killing) as an organization she wanted to work with. In 2011 she started engaging in Animal Outlook’s activities, such as soliciting restaurants to offer vegan meals, and promoting these activities. She admired – even revered – those who would bravely go behind the closed doors of factory farms, posing as employees to conduct investigations that would expose the violence perpetrated on factory farms and fight the industry’s dangerous “ag gag” laws, which forbid undercover filming or photography on farms. Only a handful of organizations in the US conduct these important and eye-opening undercover investigations, and Animal Outlook is one of them.
When it came time for us to prepare our wills, there was no question about where Rena wanted a significant share of her resources to go. She wanted to concentrate her giving so that the money would make a difference – would enable those organizations to do something that they otherwise could not have done, or not done so soon. She believed in Animal Outlook’s work, and trusted that her gift would be used as carefully and effectively as possible in the fight for better lives for animals.
If Rena had lived longer, who knows what else she would have accomplished for animals? In her passing, however, she ironically is doing more sooner. Her legacy will be through people like you – those who have read this – and importantly through the programs, and campaigns, and memorials that will now be in her name with Animal Outlook and the other organizations she chose to make the focus of her philanthropy.
And I know that if you can find a slice of your time, and your resources, to make a difference for those animal causes that resonate with you – in any amount – you will have moved the emotional and environmental needle in the right direction, making a “Rena difference,” and adding more joy to the Earth.
You can read more of Rena’s story here.