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The State of America's Children 2012

Marian Wright Edelman | 8/8/2012, 4:03 p.m.

I hope this report will be a piercing siren call which wakes up our sleeping, impervious and self-consumed nation to the lurking dangers of epidemic child neglect, illiteracy, poverty and violence. It's way past time for those of us who call ourselves child advocates to speak and stand up and do whatever is required to close the gaping gulf between word and deed and between what we know children need and what we do for them. In a year filled with choices for our communities, states, and nation--from our budgets to our leaders--please educate yourself and others about the urgent challenges facing our children and insist our nation make better investment choices to ensure their and our futures.

A transforming nonviolent movement is needed to create a just America. It must start in our homes, communities, parent and civic associations, and faith congregations across the nation. It will not come from Washington or state capitols or politicians. Every single person can and must make a difference if our voiceless, vote-less children are to be prepared to lead America forward. Now is the time to close our action and courage gaps, reclaim our nation's ideals of freedom and justice, and ensure every child the chance to survive and thrive.

Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children's Defense Fund 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. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.