The OneJustice network lost a lion of a supporter.
But Randy Silver’s passion for justice continues through the Veterans Clinics in his honor.
My heart is broken.
A sweet moment together at the 2014 Opening Doors to Justice celebration.
There are simply no other words for it.
Last year, Randy Silver, my dear friend and a talented photographer, donated an original, signed print of President John F. Kennedy for the live auction at our Opening Doors to Justice event. Randy was the official photographer to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963, while he was serving in the U.S. Navy. He took this photo of the President at the Press Association Dinner in Washington D.C. in May 1963. Over the years, he had only produced three prints – until last year, when he created the 4th and donated it to the OneJustice auction.
Randy and Anne, his wife of 35 years, were there in the audience as the bidding went fast and furious. Just at the point when the next-to-last bidder dropped out, Randy graciously agreed to produce and sign a 5th print so that there could be two final winners. Together, the prints raised $8,000 – and to Randy’s surprise and delight, I announced on the spot that we would use the funds to create two Randy Silver Justice Bus Clinics to bring life-changing legal help to veterans in rural California, in honor of Randy’s years of service in the Navy and his incredible personal commitment to justice.
If I could go back in time to that moment, I would also run over and give Randy a huge hug. And oh, how I wish that I could.
Because, you see, Randy passed away unexpectedly in January, leaving an unimaginable hole in the OneJustice network – and in my heart.
Just six weeks after his death, a team of volunteers boarded the Justice Bus and traveled to Northern California. Over two days, they staffed the Randy Silver Memorial Legal Clinics for veterans in Chico and Redding – serving 36 veterans and their family members.
And now Randy’s beautiful print of JFK is back in our office. When one of last year’s winners, honoree Erika Rottenberg, learned of Randy’s death, she decided to donate her print back to OneJustice to be part of our live auction again this year. Once again we will use the funds raised to support another series of Randy Silver Justice Bus Clinics, bringing volunteers from urban areas to set up mobile pro bono clinics for veterans in isolated communities. It is incredibly generous of Erika, and I think Randy would be so pleased. I wish so much that I could tell him in-person, but instead I have to just trust that he knows, somehow.
“For me, it is not a matter of giving back; it’s a matter of just giving because it’s the right thing to do.”
Anne and Randy Silver at last year’s event. This message brings me great joy.
This was Randy’s acceptance message when the San Mateo County Chapter of the NAACP presented him with their 2014 Distinguished Service Award for his many years of devoted volunteerism with the NAACP and many other causes. He was an active volunteer with the NAACP, Second Harvest Food Bank, Relay for Life, and Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo. He offered his photography skills pro bono to the Annual Cyril Magnin Awards, Red Cross, San Mateo Women’s Hall of Fame – and of course, OneJustice.
He had a quiet and deep-seated passion for justice and a commitment to serving others. He earned a JD from Boalt School of Law, but knew mid-way through that the law was not his life’s work. Instead, he began working as a social worker in Napa County and found a true calling in helping people work through the challenges and problems of life. He obtained his Masters in Psychology at Chapman College, which launched a long and successful private practice as a psychotherapist.
A third generation photographer, Randy created his first print on his 9th birthday, in his mother’s darkroom, and continued with photography his entire life. This included teaching throughout the Peninsula, organizing national and international trips for groups of beginning photographers, and the production of three books that showcase his particular area of expertise – infrared photography.
Randy and Anne attending the 2013 Opening Doors to Justice event.
And now Randy’s generosity will live on. We will once again auction his original print of JFK – which sadly we now know must be the last signed edition. His art will once again bring much-needed assistance to veterans facing pressing legal problems. And I will try to find solace in the fact that in this way, Randy is still giving back – still making great things happen in the world – and that those of us left behind can continue on, in his name and taking inspiration from his life.
For Randy was a man of palpable integrity. He cared deeply about the people around him and was effortlessly generous with his time, talents, and energy. He died as he lived, with great dignity, and he will be sorely missed by all of us who had the great joy of knowing him.