At the 2019 Beat the Odds Gala, CDF-NY recognized our founder and President Emerita Marian Wright Edelman with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless service for our nation’s children. She has argued that defending our children is not a budget issue, not a deficit issue, and not a political issue but a moral issue. With her efforts, she has been the change that she has wanted to see in the world. We applaud Marian Wright Edelman and the work that she has done in the world.
The first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, Mrs. Edelman directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss., worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as counsel for his Poor People’s Campaign and dedicated her early career to defending the civil liberties of people struggling to overcome poverty and discrimination. In 1969, Mrs. Edelman began the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm that monitored federal programs for low-income families and, out of that initiative, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973.