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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2008
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WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today more than 500 local youth from the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® program marched from Union Station to the U.S. Capitol building where they were joined by CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), sponsor of the All Healthy Children Act, for a rally in support of health coverage for all children. Part of a "National Day of Social Action," the youth also visited their Members of Congress to advocate for comprehensive health coverage for all children in America. Almost 9,000 children and teens from CDF Freedom Schools sites nationwide held similar events across the country.
"Every 41 seconds in America, a baby is born without health insurance," said CDF President, Marian Wright Edelman. "In our rich nation where there are 9.4 million uninsured children, we cannot afford to wait any longer to ensure that all children have access to health coverage. CDF is grateful to Congressman Bobby Scott and the other Members of Congress who took action by supporting the All Healthy Children Act. We need more leaders like him who are ready to step up and make our children a priority."
Since the start of the 110th Congress in January 2007, more than one million children have been born without health coverage. CDF's Healthy Child Campaign is committed to ensuring every child access to affordable, seamless, comprehensive health coverage and services. CDF is calling on Congress to pass the All Healthy Children Act (S. 1564/H.R. 1688), sponsored by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), which would ensure that all children and pregnant women in America have access to comprehensive health coverage. To learn more about the Children's Defense Fund's Healthy Child Campaign, visit www.childrensdefense.org/healthychild.
"The thousands of CDF Freedom Schools scholars who took action today provide proof that we can solve this problem if each of us does our part," said Edelman. "By acting on behalf of all children to make health coverage a right—not a privilege—all of us will benefit. But every person must make their voice heard and urge our elected officials to solve the health care crisis that makes seeing a doctor impossible for millions of children."
Since 1995, the CDF Freedom Schools program has provided free summer and after-school reading and cultural enrichment programs for children across the country. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, foundations, local businesses, and civic leaders, the program has provided culturally relevant and literacy-rich learning opportunities for more than 70,000 children. This year, 136 program sites are operating in 61 cities and 24 states. The social action and civic engagement component of the CDF Freedom Schools model teaches youth to engage in community service and social justice advocacy. For more information on the CDF Freedom Schools program, visit www.childrensdefense.org/freedomschools.