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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011
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Vice President for Communications and Outreach
Washington, D.C.&mdsh;Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Dr. Edmund Gordon of Columbia and Yale Universities, will receive the 2011 Dr. John Hope Franklin Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine today at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. Cited for her deep impact on the nation and the highest standard of excellence, Edelman joins a short, exclusive list of honorees that includes poet Maya Angelou, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Johnnetta Cole, president emeritus of Spelman College. Diverse Issues established the award in 2004 and named it for African-American scholar Dr. John Hope Franklin, who helped establish the field of African-American studies.
“I am so honored to receive this award named for my dear friend John Hope Franklin. Personally and professionally, I benefited from his extraordinary wisdom, leadership and friendship,” Edelman said. “I am doubly honored to be recognized along with Dr. Ed Gordon, who has done so much for Black academic achievement, and through his work on Head Start helped to give so many children such a smart baptism into education,” she said. In 1990, Dr. John Hope Franklin co-convened with Dr. Dorothy Height and the Children's Defense Fund a meeting of 22 Black leaders that launched the Black Community Crusade for Children® (BCCC). Education has been the center of BCCC’s work over the last 20 years. CDF’s Freedom Schools program was created to close the achievement gap and stop summer learning loss for vulnerable children and has served over 80,000 scholars and trained over 9,000 college-age mentors to teach the empowering summer school curriculum. In New York, the Harlem Children Zone pioneered a new way to end the cycle of generational poverty for thousands of children and families. Another CDF program focuses on the economic empowerment of rural Black women in the South reaching many thousands of the poorest children. Today, when a Black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime, the BCCC is actively engaged with dismantling the cradle to prison pipeline by expanding these and other programs that work.
“John Hope Franklin’s teachings and spirit guide us as we work to ensure all of our children, especially our most vulnerable children, receive the world class education that is their right. The hopes and dreams and future of our children and our nation for years to come are at stake,” she added. “Congress must take action now to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and make it once again the engine of equality, rather than the locomotive of inequality,” Edelman said. “Congress must make sure the law reaches those children it was intended to help – those living in concentrated poverty; that it supports early learning and all-day kindergarten in all states; and that it helps vulnerable children in foster care and the juvenile justice system to stay in school and get on an expressway to college and future employment.”
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