Update for 2017: I will match every dollar donated to the Blue Card for my ride with a dollar to the ACLU, up to my goal of $1500. My father donated to many Jewish and liberal causes, but never donated to the ACLU because of their protection of the KKK's right to free speech in Skokie, Ill. in 1978. I'd like to think in today's political climate, he'd change his mind.
Hi! I'll be captaining again for the 7th time in a row for the Blue Card 5 Boro Bike team. This is why I ride for the Blue Card....
My father, Emil Wildman, was a Holocaust survivor. He came over with his parents and siblings by boat in '39 to Cuba, since the US was not taking refugees from Germany at the time. Once the world started figuring out what happened, they came through Ellis Island in '40 and settled in the Bronx.
Growing up in NYC, my dad made sure that his kids always had enough, and that they had what he did not. He also made sure that my brother and me always had a bicycle. That was important to him -- and remains vital to me today. Despite living in a modest NYC apartment with my family, which includes 2 kids, I have a collection of 5 bikes (6 if you include my Citibike membership!). I've been cycling my whole life, and started riding long-distance and road bikes about 20 years ago. About 15 years ago, I started riding in group events, including the 5 Boro.
After my mother, Edna Wildman, retired, I got her a bicycle and took her out for a few rides. Elie Rubenstein, my mother's colleague & protege, remembered Mom telling him about our bike rides -- and how much she enjoyed them -- and in 2010 reached out to me with a special proposition. As Executive Director for the Blue Card Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting American Holocaust survivors in need of financial and social aid, Elie had an idea: To sponsor a team to ride in 2011's Five Boro Bike Tour. And he asked me to be the team's captain. How could I say no? My mother worked on behalf of Jewish interests for most of her adult life; my Viennese father narrowly escaped becoming a victim of the Holocaust himself. Jewish activism is in my DNA.
For my 7th year captaining, my seven-year-old daughter Edie (a nickname for Edna) will be riding with me (as a passenger. My five year-old son, Mili (short for Emil), may join us as well. One of my bikes can carry up to a few hundred pounds of human cargo!) I only got my mom out on a bike a handful of times, but I think she’d be thrilled her grandchildren are riding by my side this year. I never got my dad out on a bike, but getting his name-sake on this ride to lend a helping hand to those who were also probably deprived of bicycles as children would make him feel very loved.
Please donate to this worthy cause generously. Thanks for reading!
More about the Blue Card:
Welcome to the home of the 2016 Team Blue Card at TD 5 Boro Bike New York! The mission of The Blue Card, a national non-profit organization, is to provide direct, ongoing financial assistance in a caring and dignified manner to needy Holocaust survivors in the United States. The Blue Card provides direct financial assistance to needy Holocaust survivors who live at or near the Federal poverty level. The Blue Card is unique in that it provides both long-term ongoing support and emergency grants for basic human needs in the most caring way. Help is given in the form of cash grants issued directly to the client or to the provider of vital goods and services. The grants are made for food, health care, dental care, crisis and ongoing psychotherapy, health insurance, prescription drugs, personal emergency response system, housing, transportation, and various one-time emergencies. As the economy roughens, it grinds down on elderly Holocaust survivors living on fixed incomes and at the edge of independence. Although the number of survivors decreases with time, the needs remain very high. Survivors we serve are falling into increasingly poorer health and their need for financial assistance grows.