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Marian Wright Edelman (Courtesy of childrensdefense.org)

Marian Wright Edelman (Courtesy of childrensdefense.org)

Stories this photo appears in:

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: America Needs a Diversity Map

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: The Monster of Poverty

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Closer to the Finish Line

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Good News for Children When Congress Works Together

While we rarely hear good news these days about Congress, I have some to share.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: What About Our Girls?

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Don't Mess With CHIP's 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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Decriminalizing School Discipline

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Helping Children in Hidden Rural Poverty

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: The Invisible Achievement Gap

I hope this school year begins with a renewed commitment by all teachers and school administrators to help every child succeed.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black

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."

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Migrant Children are Innocent Victims of the U.S. War on Drugs

We must see these thousands of children in need of help right now not as a political dilemma but as an urgent humanitarian crisis.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Surviving Newtown

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Breaking the Code of Silence

Michael Patrick MacDonald has helped people share their own stories and see the "possibility of transforming trauma into voice."

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Return of the Unjust Greedy Weasels

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: John Lewis Urges Youth to Start 'Necessary Trouble'

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Vincent Harding's Call to Make America, America

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: The Seed Experiment

Many plants blossom and thrive all summer long. Children should be able to do the same.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Improving the Odds for America's Children

Our children are in trouble and our nation is in trouble, and we must reset our moral and economic compasses.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: 'Mama, Get Me Away From Around Here!'

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Ella Baker, My Civil Rights Heroine

Ella Baker was an outspoken warrior against injustice and inequality her entire life, and always, always unwilling to rest.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: The Invisible Leaders of Social Change

Women's History Month is a reminder that in every major American social reform movement, women have always played a critical role.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Struggling to Change What You're Given

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Honoring Septima Clark

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."

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Killed By a Gun

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."

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Building on CHIP's Success

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: It's Time to End Child Poverty

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Steps Forward on School Discipline

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Preventable Hunger in Our Land of Plenty

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: We Need Immigration Reform — Now

We believe there must be a direct, clear and reasonable pathway to citizenship.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Getting Education Right from the Beginning

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Stop the Shutdown, Prevent Economic Meltdown

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: 'The Closest Thing to a Panacea'

This week there is some good news from Washington amid all the dismal Congressional news on the shutdown.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: I Want to Make a Difference

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Urgency and Persistence Needed to Stop Gun Violence

What is it going to take for us to stand up and say enough to this internal gun war of American against American?

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Celebrating 40 Years for Children

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Mentors Matter

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."

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Teddy Bears, Toy Guns, and Real Guns

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.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: We Must Do Better

Have we been fighting the wrong wars to keep our children safe?

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Justice Denied

The outrage over the killing of an unarmed Black teenager who was doing nothing wrong must continue until some semblance of justice is achieved.

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MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN: Zero Tolerance Discipline Policies — A Failing Idea

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?