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Marian Wright Edelman

Stories by Marian

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Children and the opioid crisis

President Trump’s announcement yesterday reminded us all that the opioid crisis is a public health emergency, but in fact it is also a national emergency and we must do so much more.

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Congress is holding CHIP and children hostage

Dr. Lanre Falusi knows firsthand the anxiety families face when the future of their child’s health insurance is in jeopardy.

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An urgent call for more aid and fair treatment for Puerto Rico

A National Public Radio story this week described a visit to Escuela Gaspar Vila Mayans, a public elementary school in the Rio Piedras neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico: “‘PRESENTE!!!’ about 40 kids shout on cue — they’re the ones who are able to be present. More than three quarters of the student body isn’t here.

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The moment we have waited for

Rev. C.T. Vivian, legendary civil rights leader, believes young people today are inheriting the world at a unique crossroads in history and that “this is the moment we have waited for. When I say ‘we’ve’ waited for, I’m talking about humankind has waited for. I’m talking about all the great philosophers and thinkers have waited for this moment. We have lived like we have lived, blowing each other up, killing each other, stealing from each other, making a world that is not fit for human beings — we have lived that way because it’s been allowed to be.”

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Helping children cope with crisis

Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children Elaine Zimmerman helps meet many child needs in her state including sharing advice to help children cope with terrible events.

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Teaching the truth about America’s history

Were my African ancestors, who were stolen at gunpoint from their homes and families, dragged in chains into the dark and crowded cargo hulls of ships for the often-fatal Middle Passage, and brutalized, beaten, and forced into chattel slavery for generations, just like many of the other “immigrants” who came to America in order to “work”?

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Learning through loss to beat the odds

Elijah Iqbal-Scott has seen a lot of sadness and sorrow in his 17 years.

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How to help young men channel rage

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.

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Ten Rules to help black boys survive

Democracy cannot breathe, and will die, if those enjoined to protect and uphold the law snuff it out unjustly and without consequence.

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What Do We Do After Charleston?

I am a native South Carolinian. Charleston is my maternal ancestral home. My great grandmother was born during slavery. My great grandfather I have been told was a plantation overseer. Never have I been more proud and more ashamed of my dueling ancestral heritages than in the aftermath of the terroristic murders of nine Black Christians.

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Charity Is Not a Substitute for Justice

In his speech the night before his murder Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. repeated the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped and helped the desperate traveler who had been beaten, robbed, and left half dead as he journeyed along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.

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Criminalizing Poverty Is Big Business

The recent Department of Justice report on police and court practices in Ferguson, Mo. put a much needed spotlight on how a predatory system of enforcement of minor misdemeanors and compounding fines can trap low-income people in a never-ending cycle of debt, poverty, and jail.

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From ‘Crack Baby’ to A-Student

The odds were stacked against Britiny Lee before she was born. Her mother was addicted to drugs, like Britiny’s grandfather and many others in their poverty-stricken Cleveland neighborhood.

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Big winners and big losers in budget

In the House and Senate budget proposals for fiscal year 2016, passed with only Republican votes at the end of March, there are big winners and big losers.

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Let’s give child hunger a summer vacation

Many children and families eagerly look forward to the end of the school year and the carefree days of summer, playing outside in the warm sun, splashing and swimming in pools and at beaches, and gathering with family and friends for backyard barbeques. But for more than 17 million children the end of school can be the end of certainty about where and when their next meal will come.

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A Call to End Child Poverty Now

It is a national moral disgrace that there are 14.7 million poor children and 6.5 million extremely poor children in the United States of America – the world’s largest economy. It is also unnecessary, costly and the greatest threat to our future national, economic and military security.

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Overcoming Homelessness to become an A-Student

Seventeen-year-old high school senior Diamond May is devoted to her education.

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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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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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Black Men Share Keys to their Success

We know the commonly repeated claim that there are more Black men in prison than in college isn’t true. But in 2011, Black men accounted for fewer than 6 percent of undergraduate students and 4 percent of graduate students, though they made up 8.7 percent of 18-29 year olds.

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Improving the Odds for America’s Children

We are now blessed with a new indispensable evidence-based book from Harvard Education Press—Improving the Odds for America’s Children: Future Directions in Policy and Practice.

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Make Hard Work Pay Again

One of our country’s most cherished values is the idea that if you work hard you can get ahead, be part of the middle class, raise a family comfortably, and ensure your children will do better than you did. But this is a hollow promise to countless families today.

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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.

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Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefits Now!

Millions of Americans who have been struggling the longest to find work in our slowly recovering economy are now facing deep uncertainty and despair instead of a Happy New Year.

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A Christmas Prayer: O God of All Children

As millions of Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas and their belief that God entered human history as a poor tiny baby, let us remember all the poor babies and children who struggle to live and realize their God given potential in our own rich land and all around the world today.

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One Year Later: Sandy Hook School Shooting

In the year since six-year-old Ben Wheeler was murdered by a gun in his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut along with nineteen other first graders and six teachers, more than 30,000 other Americans have been killed by a gun—30,000 more families now drowning in the same grief.

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Preventable Hunger In Our Land of Plenty

While many American families gathered around the Thanksgiving table, some of us combining this year’s traditional dinners with Hanukkah feasts, a too quiet group was left out of the national celebration.

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Ask What You Can Do For Your Country

So much of the deep lingering sadness over President Kennedy’s assassination is about the unfinished promise—unspoken speeches, unfulfilled hopes, the wondering about what might have been.

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"Will We Act to Save All Our Children?"

The introduction last week of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) is a hugely important and long overdue step forward towards leveling the playing field for children, especially poor and low income children.

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God Does Not Give Up On Any Child

November is National Adoption Month. If just one-third of the nearly 345,000 faith congregations in America encouraged one member to adopt one child from foster care, all the 101,719 children in foster care awaiting adoption could have a loving permanent family.

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Gun violence epidemic can be stopped

In Washington, D.C. on October 20th, the Children’s Defense Fund partnered with Washington National Cathedral for a special Children’s Sabbath service and activities, including a forum with leading experts on gun violence as a public health issue where Dr. Mark L. Rosenberg shared his experience.

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Getting Education Right From the Beginning

[We found that] if we created the right wraparound programs, the right preschool programs that were strong enough and rigorous enough, that fed into a rigorous pre-K through 3 program that fed into a middle school and a high school that actually works and inspired as well as prepared the child, you could have marvelous things happening.

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Stop the Shutdown, Prevent Economic Meltdown

Since the government was forced to shut down on October 1st 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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Edelman: Celebrating 40 years advocating for children

The Children’s Defense Fund is the child of the transformative struggles for civil rights and economic and social justice in the 1960s.

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Teddy Bears, Toy Guns, and Real Guns

Many gun tragedies could have been prevented by the use of simple technologies that exist today. Authorized-user identification, or personalized, gun technology encompasses a broad range of manufacturing designs that allow guns to recognize an authorized user and become inoperable when handled by anyone else.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

As the nation celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, many are discussing what Dr. King would say to the nation and world today and tell us to do. But his message to us today is as clear as it was fifty years ago if only we could hear, heed, and follow his warnings about what we need to do to make America America.

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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.

We can do better on guns

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?

How Children Transformed America

On this fiftieth anniversary of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade it is a time to remember, honor, and follow the example of the children who were frontline soldiers and transforming catalysts in America’s greatest moral movement of the twentieth century.