Tribute to Michael Ratner – Bertha Foundation

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.

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.

We will miss you, Michael.