Letter from ALBA: Lessons from the Past Year

February 4, 2021

Dear Friends,

The two main lessons to draw from the last 12 months are not particularly new—but they are crucial nonetheless. First, healthcare is a public good and should be treated as such. And second, the far right is as dangerous as we feared and should be taken very seriously.

In relation to the first lesson, we’re thrilled to announce that this year’s ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism—the eleventh iteration—will go to a group of valiant activists on the frontline of the healthcare battle, which, as we well know, is also a battle for social, racial, and economic justice: the Mississippi-based non-profit My Brother’s Keeper, which has been working for over twenty years to improve the health and well-being of minority and marginalized populations in the United States. The wonderful leadership of MBK will receive the award at ALBA’s annual gala, which will take place on May 2—save the date! As we did last year, we’re planning to celebrate in style with a riveting online event filled with music and inspiration.

The rise of the far right, meanwhile, has been a central source of concern for Judge Baltasar Garzón, the inaugural recipient of the ALBA/Puffin Award back in 2011, as he explains in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview in which he looks back on his turbulent career. How to understand political developments today in light of the past is also the focus of ALBA’s second month-long online teacher workshop, which is being held through February. The workshop is only one part of ALBA’s ever-expanding online event agenda: Just in the first two months of this year, we’re also featuring a film screening and roundtable (Invisible Heroes), the inaugural live interactive workshop of the Perry Rosenstein Cultural Series, and a screening and discussion of the award-winning, feature-length animated film based on the life of the Catalan artist Josep Bartolí, who was featured in the September issue.

This quarter’s issue is full of fascinating stories: four touching excerpts from a new book in which Spanish authors write about photographs of objects found in exhumed mass graves of the Civil War; Paul Preston’s preface to Kate Mangan’s incisive memoir from the war (page 14); and an enlightening analysis of the war’s treatment in US history textbooks. Several of ALBA’s board members were involved in the production of an authoritative new volume on Spain and the Holocaust (reviewed here).

As you well know, none of this would be possible without your ongoing generous support. It’s easier than ever to donate online at alba-valb.org/donate. Recurring gifts are especially useful, as they help us plan events into the future. If you are considering including ALBA in your estate, feel free to reach out to Mark Wallem, our executive director, at any time (mwallem@alba-valb.org). Many, many thanks for all that you do.


Sebastiaan Faber and Peter N. Carroll, Editors

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