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For decades, the cornerstone of fulfilling the American dream has been getting a good education. But that cornerstone has crumbled for millions of America's children. The President said making sure students graduate from high school and are able to go to college must be a priority. He said, "Higher education can't be a luxury - it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."
Alabama has passed the toughest immigration enforcement law in the country. Now children born in the U.S.A., American citizens, are living in fear. Some children are afraid to go to school. According to Bill Lawrence, principal of Foley Elementary in Foley, Alabama, "Most of these kids are American citizens. American citizens attending American schools, afraid." He continued, "A child in fear can't learn." Children in his school were terrified Mom and Dad would not be home when they got home from school.
Throughout his long, storied career as a lawyer, law professor, and legal scholar until his death last October at age 80, Derrick Bell was well known for his willingness to stand up and speak out about the injustices he saw around him even when it cost him his own positions. His activism within and outside the "ivory tower" of academia changed the odds for the generations that followed in his footsteps and learned from his example. I was very pleased to have him as one of my superb supervising attorneys my first year out of law school when I joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund staff.
"There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. Not too many years ago, Dr. Kirtley Mather, a Harvard geologist, wrote a book entitled Enough and to Spare. He set forth the basic theme that famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. Today, therefore, the question on the agenda must read: Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life"
End-of-year news stories about holiday spending happily reported on the unexpectedly high totals many Americans spent-or put on credit-this year. But for millions of families there was another story: how to provide enough food and shelter and keep alive the spirit, wonder, and joy of the season for their children when resources are scarce?
"That Fred Shuttlesworth did not become a martyr was not for lack of trying... There was not a person in the civil rights movement who put himself in the position of being killed more often than Fred Shuttlesworth." This quote from Andrew Manis, author of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth's biography, A Fire You Can't Put Out, sums up the truth about the man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."
When Britany Lewis was born, no trumpets and glad tidings or even balloons and baby showers greeted her arrival. She was just another poor baby. Britany never knew her father, and for the first six years of her life lived in virtual squalor with five siblings and a mother addicted to drugs who eventually went to prison.
God help us to end poverty in our time.The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.The poverty of watching your child suffer hunger or get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have another dime or a car, money, or health insurance.
Would you recognize a poor child when you saw one? Nine-year-old Carolyn Latimore and her sister Aalijah, eight, are beautiful little girls with big smiles on their faces. But Carolyn, Aalijah, and their older brother, Robert, 17, of Middletown, Ohio, fell into poverty when their parents divorced. They've lived in four places in the past four years including a chaotic housing project where their bikes and toys were stolen.
...A day came when 16-year-old Barbara decided to put her dreams into action. "It was time that Negroes were treated equally with whites, time that they had a decent school, time for the students themselves to do something about it. There wasn't any fear. I just thought -- this is your moment. Seize it!"