Mike Rosanova Honored By OPALGA
December 29, 2019 in Notes
News from Mike Rosanova (SY): “On September 18th, in far off Los Angeles, my daughter, Grace, gave birth to a happy little girl, Rudi. First grandchild. Couldn’t be more delighted. Just call me Grampa Mike! I’m attaching (below) a couple of recent items from OPALGA (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association). Though I still teach psychology and sociology as an adjunct at local colleges, I do a lot of volunteering — not just for OPALGA, but for performing arts and other groups. Looking forward to our next reunion!”
Mike has been a member of OPALGA+ since 2006, and he has been a member of the board of directors since 2015.
Mike has worked with the scholarship committee since 2015, and has been co-chair of the committee since 2017. Mike has been a tireless contributor to the expansion of our scholarship program. We began working with just a few schools only in the Oak Park area, but now we reach schools and colleges within a 10 mile radius of the center of OP, from here to Lake Michigan and across much of the city and suburbs. There are now 25 schools that correspond with OPALGA each semester about getting students into our scholarship program.
But it’s not just the finances. At OPRF High School the gay-straight alliance is called A Place For All. Mike has cultivated the relationship between OPALGA+ and A Place for All to the point where we are now almost like family. For the past two years we have supported and helped the APA with their Loud and Proud celebration at the high school in the spring, their wonderful response to The Day of Silence: “Loud and Proud!” We meet with the APA group at least once a year in their gathering after school. This year we were exhibitors at two OPRF functions – the welcome-back “Level Up” for all students returning to classes after summer vacation, and the special welcome-back “Rainbow Dinner” for students and parents involved in A Place for All, another wonderful first for OPRF. Something not new: Mike has led APA students in staffing our coat check at the Gala for several years now, so don’t forget their Tip Jar Fundraiser!
As a professor at Triton Mike has drawn folks from the college into some of our activities. OPALGA supports Triton’s Common Ground as well as the gay-straight alliance at Dominican University. A Catholic school boy himself, Mike actively supports teachers in parochial and other non-public schools who want to increase LGBTQ students’ options. He advocates for best practices in LGBTQ student support across the board in local schools and colleges of all kinds.
Mike is an incorrigible volunteer. He’s been the driving force behind getting OPALGA+ active with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, organizing a quarterly Saturday afternoon work time for 15 or more of our members for the past few years. He also helps recruit volunteers for our yearly Donut Day Fundraisers at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market. He also helps organize our annual contingent in the Oak Park July 4th Parade and in the River Forest Memorial Day Parade. There’s a lot to celebrate in thirty years of OPALGA. We’re glad that Mike is around to help spread the Pride.
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, Acceptance Speech, OPALGA Founders Award, MJR, October 26, 2019:
I grew up on the north side of Oak Park in the 1950s. I was one of six kids. Dinner was at 5:00. When dinner was done, all of us kids got up, grabbed a brush or a sponge or a broom or whatever we needed. The adults left the kitchen and we did what needed to be done. No one had to tell us. We laughed, we gossiped, we had a good time. It was one of those moments when we knew very clearly that we were family.
Have you ever heard of Dorothy Day? She was a radical pinko Catholic back in the Great Depression of the 1930s. She founded the radical pinko Catholic Worker Movement, which still exists. She may be best remembered, though, for what she called “the Duty of Delight”: the DUTY of Delight. She advised people to get happy, not just because life is a mess. Her reasoning went this way: happy people are much more likely to Do The Right Thing – much more likely than people who are greedy, mean and angry. She called it a moral obligation: if it’s a moral obligation to do the right thing, then it’s a moral obligation to get happy. Have a good laugh. Find yourself some inner peace.
I want you to know how much I appreciate this wonderful Founders Award. I will always cherish it. But the hope of receiving some sort of award has never been what I was after. I was after some good company, a few laughs, a good time with friendly people – something like what followed family dinners back in the Fifties. And that’s the reason for all my OPALGA volunteering: I understand the goals and the struggle of the last thirty years, and I know for sure that there’s more of all that struggle that lies ahead. And if something good has come out of all my volunteering, then Dorothy Day was right: people really do need to find ways to get happy, because there’s a very good chance that something good might just come of it.
I have volunteered for OPALGA for the fun of it. So while I thank you all for the honor of the Founders Award, I thank you even more for the pleasure of your company, and for the contributions to our Community which your companionship has made possible.
Thank you so much!