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Santa Monica Activist Millie Rosenstein Dies  

By Lookout Staff

August 17, 2011 – Longtime Santa Monica activist Millie Rosenstein – who championed the rights of the elderly with boundless youthful energy – died Tuesday. She was 96.

Rosenstein practiced what she preached – that aging should not be looked upon as a handicap but an asset – driving around town well into her nineties and leading an independent life dedicated to helping others.

"All of my friends are old, and I don't have any grandchildren," Rosenstein once told The Lookout about her volunteer work at KCRW. "So I need to be around young people somehow."

The mother of former Santa Monica mayor Paul Rosenstein, Millie was a force in civic affairs, attending countless community meetings, testifying before the council and sitting on several City commissions.
“I came from a generation of activists,” Rosenstein said in a Santa Monica College profile in 1989. “In the 1930s, everyone seemed to be involved.”

Rosenstein served on Santa Monica's Commission on Older Americans, which she chaired; the Commission on the Status of Women and the Social Services Commission. She also was president of the Santa Monica Democratic Club and was recognized in 2000 by then Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl as the 41st Assembly District's Woman of the Year.

A native of New York, Millie and her husband, Herman, moved to Los Angeles with their two children in 1958, moving to Santa Monica in 1980. Herman, who died in 1996, fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Lincoln Brigade and later became a proud, card-carrying member of the Communist Party, leaving behind a legacy of activism chronicled by the FBI.

Lifelong liberals, the Rosensteins were tireless activists – organizing trade unions, pushing for civil rights and backing numerous leftist causes.

After moving to Santa Monica, Millie worked as a volunteer staff member for Tom Hayden during his days in the State Assembly, volunteered with the Dr. Martin Luther King Westside Coalition and spent a couple days a week volunteering at KCRW.

She had high hopes for the world she tried tirelessly to better.
“I have such faith in the people of the future,” she told SMC. “After all, every generation is going to have its struggles.”


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