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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—remain a searing example of how pervasive gun violence in our nation’s cities is killing, injuring, and traumatizing our children. As Pulitzer Prize-winning New Orleans journalist Julia Cass reports for the Children’s Defense Fund, on May 29, 2012, Ka’nard celebrated his 10th birthday at his grandmother’s house in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.
During this last week of Women’s History Month I wanted you to learn about Ella Baker, a transforming but too little known woman and overpowering justice warrior for my generation of civil rights activists.
Women’s History Month is a reminder that in every major American social reform movement, women have always played a critical role. Women at the forefront, acting as the catalyst for progress when it needs to happen, make the front pages and the history books.
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. The sad truth is you can work full time in America and not be able to meet your family’s basic needs.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary source of federal funding for child care, but CCDBG has not been reauthorized since 1996. The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013 (S.1086) would reauthorize CCDBG and takes important steps to improve the quality of care for children, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable; establishes minimum health and safety standards in child care; and provides additional supports to assist working parents in finding high-quality care.
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.
During this Black History Month I was deeply honored to be inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame at the same time as Mrs. Septima Clark—the woman Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “Mother of the Movement.”
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”—this time, because the teenager and his friends were sitting in a car listening to music the grownup didn’t like. In this outrageous Florida case a middle-aged White man, Michael Dunn, was convicted of three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting a gun into an occupied car.
Some children cheer when schools close for winter storms, but there are hungry children in America right now for whom another snow day this week meant another day without access to school breakfast or lunch. Despite criticism some big city mayors have kept schools open on snowy days this winter so their children would not go without food. These same children suffer over the weekends. While some schools have food pantries and send children home on the weekends with backpacks filled with food, it is still far, far from enough and only a drop in the bucket of need. Schools report students who arrive hungry on Monday morning or cry when they miss the bus or it’s late because that means they’ve missed breakfast.
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.