Tribute to Michael Ratner

Bertha Foundation,
May 19, 2016
http://berthafoundation.org/michael-ratner-we-stand-on-your-shoulders/


Michael Ratner
Michael Ratner (1943-2016)

We mourn the loss of Michael Ratner.

Michael wasn’t only a close friend, he was a personal confidant. He was an inspiration to Bertha Foundation and our legal team.

From the beginning, it was Michael who gave shape to our legal strategy.

It was through Michael that we met Jen Robinson, who, for four years, has helped build our legal program, the Bertha Justice Initiative.

It was Michael who introduced us to Wolfgang Kaleck & the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) who, in turn, helped build out Bertha’s international network connecting the world’s best human rights law firms.

And it was Michael who introduced us to the concept of “movement lawyering.”

Beyond that, and most importantly for Bertha, it was through Michael, and then Vince Warren, and then Bill Quigley, at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), that Bertha adopted as its central mission, that social change is affected by activists, storytellers, and lawyers working together.

Michael went way beyond the law in his struggles for social change. He was an activist and was proud to be called a “radical lawyer.” He was proud to be a Jewish anti-Zionist who passionately supported the rights of Palestinians. And he led by example. He always knew what was right and what was wrong.

Michael at FiSahara, May 2015

(Footage courtesy of FiSahara, IDA and Skylight Pictures)

We will miss Michael’s spontaneity and his sense of humor. We will miss Michael’s company. Above and beyond all his amazing qualities, we will miss Michael’s fun personality.

We have lost a mentor and a friend. We have lost our brother.

We send our love and condolences to Michael’s wife Karen Ranucci and children Jake and Ana.

Michael and Tony at FiSahara, May 2015 (Photo courtesy of Skylight Pictures)
Michael and Tony at FiSahara, May 2015 (Photo courtesy of Skylight Pictures)
Michael was an inspirational mentor to Jen Robinson, Be Just Convening, 2014
Michael was an inspirational mentor to many, Be Just Convening, 2014 (Photo courtesy of Halden Krog)
Michael and Vince, Be Just Convening 2014 (Photo courtesy of Halden Krog)
Michael and Vince Warren, Be Just Convening 2014 (Photo courtesy of Halden Krog)
Be Just Convening 2014. Photo by Halden Krog
Be Just Convening 2014. (Photo courtesy of Halden Krog)
Michael with Risa Tabatznik, Nelson Mandela's Cell, Robben Island, 2014
Michael with Risa Tabatznik, Nelson Mandela’s Cell, Robben Island, 2014 (Photo courtesy of Halden Krog)
Michael in Cuba, May 2015
Michael in Cuba, May 2015 (Photo courtesy of Shira White)

We will miss you, Michael.

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