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Marian Wright Edelman
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Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund and its Action Council whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Entries by Marian Wright Edelman

Growing Seeds for a Multicultural, Multiracial Teaching Force for Our Rainbow Children

(7) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 6:43 PM

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
–Henry David Thoreau

A little boy planted a carrot seed. His mother...

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End All Youth Detention and Torture at Rikers Island Now

(45) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 8:31 PM

Solitary confinement is pretty horrible for anybody, but it's especially horrible for a child. It is psychological torture.

-- Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, author of Just Mercy

When you go over the three years that he spent [in jail] and all the horrific...
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Charity Is Not a Substitute for Justice

(35) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 5:36 PM

"I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his back."

--Leo Tolstoy, from What Then Must We Do?

"Overcoming...

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Protecting 50 Years of Child Health Progress

(14) Comments | Posted May 29, 2015 | 5:41 PM

It was a generation ago that Harry Truman said, and I quote him:

'Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And the...

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Overmedicating Children in Foster Care

(16) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 5:38 PM

On any given day nearly one in four children in foster care is taking at least one psychotropic medication—more than four times the rate for all children. Nearly half of children living in residential treatment centers or group homes take psychotropic medications. Children in foster care are more likely to...

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Healing a Child's Broken Heart

(5) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 6:54 PM

It’s always very challenging for a parent when their child has a serious health condition. It’s even more challenging when their child has a serious condition but has no health insurance to cover the needed care and emergencies. Both were true for one Texas mother whose 12-year-old daughter Evelyn was...

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Criminalizing Poverty

(27) Comments | Posted May 8, 2015 | 6:23 PM

“Held captive.” It was how one 13-year-old described the feeling of growing up poor in our wealthy nation, and for more and more Americans living in poverty, this feeling isn’t just a metaphor. The recent Department of Justice report on police and court practices in Ferguson, Missouri put a...

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All in the Family

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 5:46 PM

My mother was doing drugs, specifically cocaine, crack cocaine... I almost died. They said that I was either going to be deaf or retarded or I wasn’t going to survive past childhood or infancy because there were so many chemicals in my system.

The odds were stacked against Britiny...

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Stuck Outside the Poor Door

(21) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 5:20 PM

More than 88,000 people have applied to enter the “poor door” at a new luxury condominium tower on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Only one in 1,600 will win the lottery to live there. Some months ago a New York developer made headlines with the plans for this building,...

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Thank God for Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

(21) Comments | Posted April 17, 2015 | 5:57 PM

Kaylyn Sigman is a high school senior with big plans. A star soccer player from a poor rural Appalachian Ohio community who loves calculus and creative writing, she's college-bound this fall and dreams of becoming a middle school special education teacher. Kaylyn's overcome a lot...

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Big Winners and Big Losers in the House and Senate Republican Budgets

(25) Comments | Posted April 11, 2015 | 11:15 AM

"A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are." – Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA) discussing the House Budget Committee’s FY2016 Proposal

"There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children." — President...

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Let's Give Child Hunger a Summer Vacation

(6) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 5:12 PM

Many children and families eagerly look forward to the end of the school year and the carefree days of summer, playing outside in the warm sun, splashing and swimming in pools and at beaches, and gathering with family and friends for backyard barbeques. But for more than 17 million children...

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Time for Justice for Children in New York

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 4:05 PM

Co-authored by Melanie Hartzog, Executive Director, CDF-New York

Under New York’s juvenile justice system a child as young as 7 can be arrested for a crime, and a 16-year-old is automatically charged as an adult.

These laws are shockingly behind the times — bad for children and bad for...

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Don't Leave Children Short

(23) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 10:43 AM

Congress is about to strike a deal that takes care of seniors and doctors but leaves low-income and “at-risk” children short. Congress’ annual struggle to avoid cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians will continue to give seniors the care they need is widely considered must-pass bipartisan legislation. Known as...

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Staying on the March -- Right Now

(19) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 6:43 PM

Fifty years ago I traveled from Mississippi to Selma, Alabama on March 21st, 1965 to join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of fellow citizens marching the 54 miles to the steps of the state’s capitol in Montgomery. Millions of Americans now know about this march thanks to the...

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Who Are We? What Do We Americans Truly Value?

(23) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 8:39 PM

Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now is over $800 billion dollars a year... if we judge the United States of America by that... Gross National Product counts air pollution...
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'Make Me a Woman'

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 4:27 PM

One of my sheroes is Sojourner Truth. A brilliant but illiterate woman, she was a great orator and powerful presence who possessed great courage and determination. I often wear a pendant with her image and words: “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take...

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No ESEA Bill Is Better Than One That Fails to Protect the Poorest Children

(18) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 8:16 PM

For fifty years Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) has been the primary source of federal funding targeted to schools to serve poor children. Its purpose has been to raise achievement for poor children through extra support to their schools to...

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Girls in Justice

(14) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 4:51 PM

I’m grateful for a powerful new book, Girls in Justice by artist Richard Ross, a follow-up to his moving earlier Juvenile in Justice, which combines Ross’ photographs of girls in the juvenile justice system with interviews he gathered from over 250 detention facilities across the United States. If a...

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Push for Progress: Children Cannot Wait

(5) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 7:34 PM

“We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and...

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