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.
Blog Post List
December 19, 2014
As 2014 draws to a close, I wanted to celebrate four great rainbows for justice who passed away this year but left us a much better people and nation. My brother-friend Dr. Vincent Harding , much loved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary, never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed our nation and world could become. A close confidant of Dr. King, he helped draft several of Dr. King’s most important speeches, including the landmark 1967 antiwar sermon “Beyond Vietnam.” His books include the powerful essay...
December 12, 2014
On December 10th President Obama hosted a White House Summit on Early Education, bringing together a broad coalition of philanthropic, business, education, child advocacy, and elected leaders and other key stakeholders. It was a welcome chance to celebrate progress in expanding access to quality early childhood development and learning opportunities for children from birth through age 5. Although we haven’t yet seen the passage of needed comprehensive legislation to provide low-income and other at-risk children a full continuum of quality supports from voluntary home visiting programs to Early Head Start and Head Start, child care, pre-kindergarten and — I hope — full-day kindergarten, progress has been made in increasing access to and expanding quality programs and building support for future investments.
November 26, 2014
In the wake of Ferguson and a series of young Black male deaths at the hands of official law enforcement personnel (and one self-appointed neighborhood watchman who cost Trayvon Martin his life), I hope we will use this November time of Thanksgiving and celebration of Native American Heritage month by some first Americans, as an opportunity for national and personal soul searching and discussion about what it means to be an American. I also hope we will recommit to doing what we can to serve, speak up, and work with others to build a nation where every child is safe, seen, heard, respected...
November 21, 2014
In a season focused on gratitude, 17-year-old Monica Chica has an attitude about choosing to be grateful that’s wise far beyond her years: “The most important lesson I learned is that being happy is not about having with you what you loved in the past, but learning to love what you have in the present.” Monica learned this lesson the hard way. She grew up in El Salvador where her father was a lawyer and teacher and her mother was a doctor. Monica’s mother suffered from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a nervous system disorder which caused her a lot of weakness and pain. The disease often left her...
November 14, 2014
For many years I've been blessed by my friendship with Pamela Ferrell, one of the country's leading experts on natural Black hair. Pamela and her husband Taalib-Din Uqdah co-founded the Washington, D.C. hair salon Cornrows & Co. in 1980, pioneering the natural hair care movement with African-inspired braids and hairstyles. They point out that their philosophy and the natural product line they created for their styles long predated today's green movement: Cornrows & Co. has always featured a chemical-free salon with plant-based products, focusing both on protecting each client's health...
October 31, 2014
Each year at Halloween, our neighborhoods are bustling as children go door to door dressed as zombies, vampires, skeletons or something else fantastic and scary. For many children Halloween is the rare occasion to indulge in a fun time of ghost stories and goblins and trick or treats. But at the end of the night they put away their costumes and make-believe in their closets and return to their normal lives. Sadly, too many children do not have normal or safe or protected lives and their monsters are real. They do not have closets in many homeless shelters or on the streets or church steps...
October 17, 2014
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 and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980/P.L. 113-183). This new legislation improves the child welfare system to prevent children and youths in foster care from becoming victims of sex trafficking and protects foster care youths who are already victims. It offers new hope of permanent families for children and extra support for those youths who end up aging out of foster care. The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and many other children’s advocates strongly supported this bill, and we applaud Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sander Levin (D-MI), Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Representatives David Reichert (R-WA) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) who led the charge in responding to some of our most vulnerable children’s needs.
October 13, 2014
Though 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 which impact their life chances for success. Like boys, girls of color who enter the juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and other systems often arrive traumatized and experience more trauma from the way they are treated inside systems.
June 17, 2013
Guns killed more preschoolers in one year than they did law-enforcement officers in the line of duty. Ask yourself if this is really what we as Americans meant by putting our children first? American companies manufacture enough bullets each year to fire 31 rounds into every one of our citizens. How many more mass-murders will it take to get Congress to pass sensible gun regulation? The number of children and teens killed by guns in 2010 was nearly five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action that year in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn’t our legislators be as concerned about the...