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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

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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Dr. Vincent Harding’s Call to Make America America

(3) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 5:06 PM

When my brother friend Dr. Vincent Harding passed away May 19 at age 82, we lost a beloved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary who never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed our nation and world could...

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From Hardship to Hope

(4) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 2:01 PM

“Foster care is not fun for anyone,” says 24-year-old law student Amy Peters, who entered Nebraska’s foster care system at age 12 and remained until she “aged out” at 19. Fortunately for Amy, she excelled in high school and was accepted at the University of Nebraska, and because...

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From Freedom Summer to Freedom Schools

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 5:47 PM

As a brand-new law school graduate in 1963, I was fortunate enough to receive one of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)’s first two fellowships to help young attorneys seeking to practice in the South. After a year of intensive preparation at LDF’s New York City headquarters under...

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The Opportunity Gap

(66) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 5:26 PM

In the spring of 1954, like so many Black families, mine waited anxiously for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. My father and I talked about it and what it would mean for my future and the future of millions of other Black children who...

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The Budget Is Not Fair, Mr. Chair

(180) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 6:39 PM

“The budget is not fair, Mr. Chair, if 69 percent of the cuts comes from programs for low-income children and families and we are giving extra tax cuts to the wealthiest among us…. If we can afford to give new tax extenders to wealthy corporations and people, we...

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The Seed Experiment

(17) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 5:23 PM

A perennial favorite science project from preschool on up is the “seed experiment”: A child plants identical seeds in two pots. She places the first pot inside a dark cupboard and leaves it there, and she puts the second one in a sunny spot and waters it every...

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Making Strides for Preschool

(7) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 5:46 PM

New York City received a lot of attention recently with a bold promise made to some of its youngest residents: Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a campaign to fund full-day public preschool for all New York City children through a modest increased income tax on residents making...

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Improving the Odds for America's Children

(32) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 8:03 PM

“. . . We see repeated efforts in Congress in recent years to take resources away from poor and middle-class children and families, like food stamps and tax credits and education funding and access to affordable health care, and give even more to the wealthy and powerful. Bipartisanship...

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'Mama, Get Me Away From Around Here!'

(83) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 5:38 PM

Almost one year after I first wrote about Ka’nard Allen, his story—and the stories of several other children whose lives are connected to his—remain a searing example of how pervasive gun violence in our nation’s cities is killing, injuring, and traumatizing our children. As Pulitzer Prize-winning New Orleans...

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Ella Baker: My Civil Rights Generation's 'Fundi'

(1) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 6:02 PM

Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a White mother’s son—we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.
--Ella Baker

During this last week of Women’s...

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The Invisible Backbone Leaders of Transforming Social Change

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 5:51 PM

Women’s History Month is a reminder that in every major American social reform movement, women have always played a critical role. Women at the forefront, acting as the catalyst for progress when it needs to happen, make the front pages and the history books. But women have also...

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