Marian Wright Edelman (Courtesy of childrensdefense.org)
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We need to stand up and fight against unjust systems that often push young people out of school and onto the path to prison.
Only when we face the truths of our past that continue to flare up in our present can we work toward true reconciliation and wholeness as a people and begin to close the huge gap between our dream of equality and our reality of massive racial and economic inequality.
The violence, poverty and trauma these young people face would be unthinkable for anybody — and yet we leave countless children to cope with death and fear daily and often all alone.
The recent spotlight on systematic racial profiling and police brutality against black boys and men has exposed a painful truth long known in the black community: Just about every black youth and man seems to have a story about being stopped by the police, and all live daily with the understanding it can happen to any of them at any time.
True compassion — true justice — requires also attacking the forces that leave others in need in the first place.
It's always very challenging for a parent when a child has a serious health condition. It's even more challenging when a child has a serious condition but has no health insurance to cover it.
What a terrible irony that in this year of celebration of the Selma marches we are witnessing the resurgence of overt law enforcement brutality and injustice in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City, and elsewhere, which reminds us how far we still have to go.
Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.
It is morally indefensible and extraordinarily expensive that we have 14.7 million poor children in our country — 6.5 million of them living at less than half the poverty level.
Why are so many girls, especially girls of color, confined in our nation's detention facilities? And what are we as a society going to do about it?
Sometimes childhood experiences motivate a lifetime of extraordinary work. That is certainly true for Georgetown University Law School professor and bioethicist Patricia King, a brilliant scholar and one of the most effective leaders you may not know.
For many children, Halloween is the rare occasion to indulge in a fun time of ghost stories and goblins and trick-or-treats. Sadly, too many children do not have normal or safe or protected lives, and their monsters are real.
With opportunity gaps widening for poor children and children of color, new guidance from the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education offers new hope and protection from discrimination.
While we rarely hear good news these days about Congress, I have some to share.
Though the national focus is often on the racially biased ways boys of color are treated, girls of color face many of the same risks from the cradle through adulthood that impact their life chances for success.
For 17 years, the Children's Health Insurance Program has been there, giving working families the security of knowing their children had access to quality, appropriate coverage they could afford.
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.
In a nation where more than 16 million children — more than one in five — are poor, the plain truth is that child poverty is pervasive and affects children everywhere, although we know it affects urban, suburban and rural children differently in some ways.
I hope this school year begins with a renewed commitment by all teachers and school administrators to help every child succeed.
I used to sing loudly with my children the Sesame Street’s Kermit the Frog song, "It's Not Easy Being Green." I can only imagine the number of black children and adults who sing inside daily "It's Not Easy Being Black."
We must see these thousands of children in need of help right now not as a political dilemma but as an urgent humanitarian crisis.
As neighbors, members of civic organizations, sororities and fraternities, and faith communities, create connections for children, youth, and families in your communities who may be suffering silently with no support from family or friends.
Michael Patrick MacDonald has helped people share their own stories and see the "possibility of transforming trauma into voice."
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.
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 Rep. John Lewis conveys.
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 become.
Many plants blossom and thrive all summer long. Children should be able to do the same.
Our children are in trouble and our nation is in trouble, and we must reset our moral and economic compasses.
Today, 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 — remains a searing example of how pervasive gun violence in our nation’s cities is killing, injuring, and traumatizing our children.
Ella Baker was an outspoken warrior against injustice and inequality her entire life, and always, always unwilling to rest.
Women's History Month is a reminder that in every major American social reform movement, women have always played a critical role.
Seventeen-year-old Theresa Tran is one of this year's winners of the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio’s Beat the Odds scholarships after overcoming tough odds including physical disability, the death of a beloved sibling, and a father who suddenly abandoned the family and left her mother to raise four children alone.
During this Black History Month, I was deeply honored to be inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame at the same time as Septima Clark — the woman Dr. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the "Mother of the Movement."
The headlines in the case were sadly familiar. An angry adult armed with a gun used it to shoot and kill an unarmed Black teenager he thought seemed "bad."
We're used to making a big fuss over children's birthdays, but this week child advocates and families across the country are celebrating CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, on the fifth anniversary of its reauthorization.
Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the United States is still not a fair playing field for millions of children afflicted by preventable poverty, hunger, homelessness, sickness, poor education and violence in the world's richest economy.
In many American schools, the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is used as an opportunity to teach children about his life and legacy. But in too many of those same schools, Black and other non-White and poor children's extraordinary talents are still being wasted today.
While many American families gathered around the Thanksgiving table last week, some of us combined this year’s traditional dinners with Hanukkah feasts, a too-quiet group was left out of the national celebration.
We believe there must be a direct, clear and reasonable pathway to citizenship.
Under now-retired superintendent Jerry Weast, Montgomery County earned national recognition for achieving the highest student graduation rate among the nation’s 50 largest school systems. As he emphasizes, the county's strategy could and should be used all across the nation.
Since the government was forced to shut down on Oct. 1, one of the most common refrains has been that some members of Congress are acting like children — or, more accurately, worse than most children.
This week there is some good news from Washington amid all the dismal Congressional news on the shutdown.
We must never ever give up on any child and that the most important responsibility every generation and nation has is to prepare its children — all of them — for the future.
What is it going to take for us to stand up and say enough to this internal gun war of American against American?
On Sept. 30, friends and supporters of the Children's Defense Fund will gather at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the fund's 40th anniversary and honor our best known alum, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
These are the words of an 18-year-old who recently graduated from high school in a high-poverty neighborhood in the nation's capital: "Where I live, which is Ward 7, everyone is the same … If you follow the crowd, you're going to end up dead or in jail because that's where most of them are. But if you're a leader and you make your own decisions, then you can set your path for life."
Thanks in large part to the work of the gun lobby, guns are specifically not under the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s jurisdiction and are the only consumer product not regulated for safety.
Have we been fighting the wrong wars to keep our children safe?
The outrage over the killing of an unarmed Black teenager who was doing nothing wrong must continue until some semblance of justice is achieved.
Many school children in America are on summer break right now, but here's a pop quiz about discipline policies in our nation's schools that's just for grown-ups: Would you suspend a student from school for four months for sharpening his pencil without permission and giving the teacher a "threatening" look when asked to sit down?