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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

Good News for Children When Congress Works Together

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 4:39 PM

While we rarely hear good news these days about Congress, I have some to share. Continuing a long tradition of bipartisan leadership on behalf of abused and neglected children, last month both the House and the Senate passed and the president signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking...

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What About the Girls?

(12) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 4:47 PM

During the most critical period of Jessica's childhood, adults who could have intervened to protect her from abuse let her down over and over. As a child she was sexually abused in her home and ended up living with her grandmother for a time. At age 11 she became a...

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Don't Mess with CHIP: 17 Years of Success

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 5:51 PM

"If I could sit down for freedom, you can stand up for children." -- Mrs. Rosa Parks, honorary co-chair, 1996 Stand for Children rally

On June 1, 1996 the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) convened with over 3,000 co-sponsoring organizations, including the NAACP and many others in the civil rights community,...

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Decriminalizing School Discipline

(94) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 6:25 PM

I believe the purpose of public schools is to educate not exclude children and to help identify and meet child needs, not make children serve adult convenience, self interest, and systems. So huge reforms are required in school discipline policies and practices across our nation as school pushout has worsened...

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The High Moral and Economic Cost of Child Poverty in America

(34) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 5:34 PM

Just released U.S. Census Bureau data reveal 45.3 million people were poor in America in 2013. One in three of those who are poor is a child. Children remain our poorest age group and children of color and those under five are the poorest. More than one in five...

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Helping Children in Hidden Rural Poverty

(13) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 5:31 PM

When many people hear child poverty in America, the first stereotype is an inner-city child and discussions about solutions to poverty often focus on concentrated poverty in urban areas. But in a nation where over 16 million children, more than one in five, are poor, the plain truth is that...

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The Invisible Achievement Gap: Students in Foster Care

(4) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 5:50 PM

Across the country it’s back to school time. I hope it is a year full of promise and not disappointment and added stress for all children -- especially those most vulnerable. I also hope this school year begins with a renewed commitment by all teachers and school administrators...

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The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America

(52) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 3:42 PM

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a brilliant, Black Ohio State University professor, recently opened the Educational Testing Service and Children’s Defense Fund co-sponsored symposium on Advancing Success for Black Men in College by sharing a question his 14-year-old son asked him: Why did he get in trouble for speaking out of...

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'Who's Looking for Me?': God's and America's Invisible Children

(6) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 7:04 PM

Not long ago Reverend Romal Tune was the child in “Who’s Looking for Me,” his spoken word piece shared below -- the hungry boy begging strangers for money and watching them cross the street to avoid him; the teenager planning his funeral with his then 15-year-old cousin because...

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Strong Programs, Strong Mentors, and Strong Mindsets

(1) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 5:32 PM

We know the commonly repeated claim that there are more Black men in prison than in college isn’t true—but in 2011 Black men accounted for fewer than 6 percent of undergraduate students and 4 percent of graduate students, though they made up 8.7 percent of 18-29...

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Children in the Desert

(11) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 3:12 PM

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop of the United Methodist Church, is acting with urgency. Along with more than 100 other religious leaders and activists, she was arrested for civil disobedience at the White House for protesting the deportation of the unaccompanied children crossing our border after...

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Kiwis in the Bronx

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 4:12 PM

For years the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York, home to St. Ann's Episcopal Church, was the poorest section of the poorest Congressional district in the United States. I recently had another wonderful visit at the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools summer program hosted at St. Ann's,...

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A Mississippi Freedom Summer Pilgrimage: An Atrocity We Must Never Forget

(4) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 7:11 PM


The site in the photograph below, along a back road near Philadelphia, Mississippi, was the final stop on our step-by-step journey through the final tragic day of Freedom Summer volunteers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Our guide was Leroy Clemons, a longtime local...

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Andrew Young's Choice

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 5:10 PM

“None of us had any real education in social change. I was a biology major and a preacher. And yet we found ourselves in positions where we had to change the world . . . and what you will find is that it is easy if you listen...

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Overcoming Evil

(21) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 7:31 PM

Nelba Márquez-Greene is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has spent her life helping others. In December 2012 she was the coordinator of a youth and adolescent outpatient psychiatric clinic and a university instructor supervising six clinical interns. But nothing in her professional training could have prepared...

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Breaking the Code of Silence

(1) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 10:32 AM

“I found my voice long before I became a writer in community organizing. That’s where I found my voice, where I was able to take all that pain and transform it into something useful in the world, and I never looked back.” Michael Patrick MacDonald is a storyteller....

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We, the People

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 4:57 PM

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the...

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Inspiring Lessons from Seattle Pacific University

(16) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 5:36 PM

On June 14 I had the honor of giving the undergraduate commencement address at Seattle Pacific University. Commencement speakers usually do their best to share a lesson or two with the graduates, but this year Seattle Pacific University students, administration, and faculty inspired me and people across the...

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Return of the Weasels

(2) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 5:18 PM

This column is not about the recent story making headlines in New York City on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to lift a ban on pet ferrets. But it is about weasels. Age-old weasels still causing Americans pain and suffering and blocking progress toward a better, safer America...

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John Lewis to Young Leaders: Get in 'Necessary Trouble'

(4) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 8:49 PM

Not every speaker tells a crowd of young leaders that their job is to get into trouble. But that’s part of the message iconic civil rights warrior and now Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) conveyed at this year’s week-long Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools National Training that began...

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