Standing For All Animals, With Joy and Integrity
Education and educating others with regard to health and animal issues were key hallmarks of Rena Roseman's life. After earning a master's degree in public health from UCLA, Rena trained as a public health inspector in Canada, organized corporate wellness programs and served as the youngest-ever intern for the World Health Organization in Copenhagen. She later worked for Boston's public health department and for companies that conducted health research and anti-smoking campaigns. For Rena, who ultimately settled in the D.C. suburbs, eating less meat and encouraging others to do the same were natural outgrowths of that background.
"Through the HSUS, Rena learned about the brave men and women who went into slaughterhouses and farms to document their cruel practices, at great personal risk and mental trauma to themselves," says her husband, Elliot. "That's when she developed enormous respect for the people and organizations that did this kind of work, and became much more involved".
"At an even deeper level, for Rena, was the experience of her family in the Holocaust. …The conditions in which factory farmed animals are kept and the way they are treated thus resonated with her even more."
Rena strengthened her commitment to animal welfare by participating in conferences such as HSUS's Taking Action for Animals, connecting with like-minded advocates and lobbying local restaurateurs for increased vegan options.
While she worked quietly to change minds and raise awareness in those around her, Rena concentrated her time and her giving on the handful of animal protection organizations she felt were the most effective, including the HSUS.
She extended that focus to her estate planning, as well. "Rena saw that the HSUS makes a real difference, across the nation—where it matters most—rather than just at the local or regional level," says Elliot. "Education, legislation, rescues, shelters, investigations, outreach—HSUS does it all, and does it well. She also liked the HSUS' message of hope—an uplifting message that said, 'Together, we can DO this!'"
Rena passed away unexpectedly on her 63rd birthday, in 2018. As he mourns her loss, Elliot has found a measure of comfort through realizing her vision of helping to create better lives for animals.
"Rena is an example of a 'regular' person who did extraordinary things through her life example and her philanthropy," reflects Elliot. "She lived joyfully, with integrity and a passion for animals. I hope that her example will motivate others."