The Children’s Defense Fund is dedicated to providing a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities.
CDF’s 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. That is why CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.
Whether children will have a strong foundation is in large part determined by the social and physical environments in which they grow up. The first five years of a child’s life are the time of greatest brain development. If young children’s basic needs are met by experiencing consistent, nurturing interactions with loving adults, they are far more likely to meet their full potential. The United States has not made the necessary investments to support young children and families after the seismic shift from stay-at-home moms and two parent families to the current reality of two-parent-working families, or often single working moms with young children today. The major advances in what we now know about early childhood brain development make these investments more urgent. Our aging early childhood infrastructure is in dire need of repair. While we wait for critically needed investments, there has been important progress.
If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, I am certain he would be urgently saying it is a moral imperative for each one of us to register and vote in our local, state, and national elections this year — and every year. Shortly after Congressman John Lewis spoke movingly at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he was asked on a radio show if he thought this was the time to organize another march on Washington. Without missing a beat, he replied: “I think the best march that we can have right now in America is on Election Day, November the eighth, for all of us all over America – Black and White, Latino, Native American, young people – to march to the polls. The vote is precious. It’s almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society.”
I was recently deeply honored to be asked by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to serve as sponsor for a Navy ship being named for Sojourner Truth, my lifelong heroine and North Star in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice in our land.
Thank you for your interest in inviting a CDF speaker to your event. Note that if a request requires CDF staff to make a trip out of town, CDF asks that the requesting organization pay all expenses for travel and hotel accommodations.
Requests for Marian Wright Edelman to speak should be emailed to Michele Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the date, time and location of the event, as well as background on the event/organization and the expected attendance. If Mrs. Edelman accepts, you will be responsible for lodging and round-trip travel expenses for Mrs. Edelman and a staff member, plus a $35,000 donation (honorarium) to the Children’s Defense Fund in lieu of a traditional speaker's fee.
For media inquiries, to request an interview with Mrs. Edelman, or to request information about any other CDF speaker, please complete and submit the form below. Because of coordinating schedules and travel, it may take a few weeks to confirm whether a CDF speaker is available. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Patti Hassler at email@example.com or (202) 662-3554.