Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch® Columns

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans and is the President of CDF. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families.

Her Child Watch column is sent every Friday to subscribers and posted to The Huffington Post weekly.


Child Watch Column Archives

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  • 08/03/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Childhoods Ended by Guns

    On July 16, 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson was shot and killed in front of her Washington, D.C. home trying to buy ice cream. Makiyah was a rising fifth grader who loved basketball, football, art, and puzzles. She had just opened her front door on her way to the ice cream truck in the courtyard when four young men pulled up in a car and started shooting into a crowd of people enjoying the summer evening.
  • 08/03/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Our Children Are Crying Out

    Last weekend in Chicago, 12 people were killed and at least 60 others were injured by guns. Fourteen of these shooting victims were children and teenagers, the youngest an 11-year-old boy who was shot in the leg. Seventeen-year-old Kenny Ivory was shot and killed on Sunday afternoon while riding his bike a block from his home.
  • 07/27/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Census Citizenship Question and Children

    Who counts as a person in America? The answer is more complicated than it should be.
  • 07/20/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Dorothy Cotton: Lessons in Servant Leadership and Movement Building

    Dear friend Dorothy Cotton, who died last month at 88, worked tirelessly to do something about the injustices around her that she knew were wrong.
  • 07/13/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Standing on the Side of Love

    Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri, was a moving Great Preacher at the 2017 Proctor Institute.
  • 07/06/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    America Will Be!

    In 1935, the brilliant Black poet Langston Hughes wrote “Let America Be America Again.” Hughes wasn’t looking back to a nostalgic, idealized fantasy of America’s past. As he says in the refrain: “America never was America to me.”
  • 06/29/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Do You Care? How Much? What Will You Do Now?

    “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” were the puzzling and provocative words on the coat First Lady Melania Trump chose to wear when she visited the Texas border for the first time to be briefed about children cruelly separated from parents and shipped around the nation by the abusive Trump Administration’s zero tolerance anti-immigration policies and practices.
  • 06/22/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Evil Personified

    For many people of faith the suggestion that the God of the Scriptures would somehow endorse the Trump administration’s callous cruelty towards children and immigrant families is literally beyond belief. The Hebrew Scriptures stress over and over the importance of welcoming the stranger since we were once strangers ourselves.
  • 06/15/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Cruel Abandonment of the ‘Least of These’

    Please – everyone – help stop this evil practice of taking away children from parents in a strange land right now. Every one of us who understands that each of these children entering our country with a parent fleeing violence is a child of God just like every one of our own children and grandchildren should express our outrage at these cruel anti-child/anti-family policies immediately.
  • 06/08/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Senator Robert Kennedy

    As I walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City where Robert Kennedy’s body lay in state, a weeping Charles Evers, slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers’ brother, clung to me asking over and over, “What are we going to do now?” Riding the train from New York City to Washington, D.C. bearing Robert Kennedy’s body, I was deeply moved by the stricken faces of young and old, Black and White who lined the train route and mirrored my stricken heart.
  • 05/25/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Remembering the Very Courageous Dovey Johnson Roundtree

    When Dovey Johnson Roundtree passed away on May 21 at age 104 our nation lost another far too unknown extraordinary groundbreaking Black woman leader.
  • 05/25/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    California’s Chance to Lead for Poor Children

    Hearing the cries of California’s poorest children and families, the California Senate voted last week to raise cash assistance levels to ensure no child receiving CalWORKs lives in deep poverty.
  • 05/18/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Help Us Keep Dr. King’s Promise

    As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the mule trains making their way from Marks, Mississippi to Resurrection City and the Poor People’s Campaign, we must honor Dr. King’s impassioned plea for America to “help bridge the gulf between the haves and have nots.”
  • 05/11/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Honoring Birmingham’s Great Children’s Crusade Which Changed Our Nation

    The Children’s Crusade happened at a critical time in the civil rights struggle in Birmingham. In April 1963 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, together with the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and its great and fearless leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, had started a direct action desegregation campaign in the city.
  • 05/04/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Dr. James Cone

    The Rev. Dr. James Cone passed away on April 28, two days after the opening of the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama created by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which remembers victims of lynching and racial terror in America who were at the core of Dr. Cone’s teachings.
  • 04/27/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Only the Truth Will Set Us Free

    On April 26 I was deeply honored to participate in the opening summit of the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. These profoundly moving new landmarks are the vision of Bryan Stevenson, the brilliant founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
  • 04/20/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    No Turning Back

    A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last month, “K-12 Education: Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities,” reminds us once again that suspensions and expulsions continue at high rates and offer grave risks to students.
  • 04/13/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Child Opportunity and Stability Starts at Home

    The Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex. It followed up the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 by addressing the persistent and pervasive housing inequality undergirded by federal policy that threatened to derail other efforts towards a more integrated and equal society. As he signed it President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “With this bill, the voice of justice speaks again. It proclaims that fair housing for all – all human beings who live in this country – is now a part of the American way of life.”
  • 04/04/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Remembering Dr. King

    Dr. King became a mentor and friend. Many children today have come to see him as a history book hero – a larger-than-life, mythical figure. But it’s crucial for them to understand Dr. King wasn’t a superhuman with magical powers, but a real person – just like all the other ministers, parents, teachers, neighbors, and other familiar adults in their lives today.
  • 03/30/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Let’s Move Forward Together

    Today hundreds of thousands of students are taking on the burden of their and our time – where adults have failed to act to protect children from guns. The scenes from the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and the more than 800 sibling marches around the country and the world signal hope, inspiration, optimism and the confidence of a new generation of young leaders and activists. I can only imagine how many of these young people feel empowered and blessed as I did by finding their call to serve, work, sacrifice and make history.
  • 03/23/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Marching For Our Children’s Lives and Nation’s Soul

    Until we shake off our sense of hopelessness and exile apathy to our trashcans in the face of persistent tragedy and bullying by the gun lobby, Congress and state legislatures will continue to do the NRA’s bidding, putting their perceived political self-interest ahead of the lives of our children and families and others they are sworn to represent and protect.
  • 03/16/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Our Children’s Cry: Do Something

    On March 14th, Americans witnessed a remarkable scene as tens of thousands of students across our country walked out of their classrooms to honor the tragic and preventable loss of 17 students and staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida one month earlier and to demand that adults, especially political leaders, take common sense and life saving steps against epidemic gun violence in our nation. Students from Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas demonstrated outside the White House and marched on the U.S. Capitol to get politicians to protect them.
  • 03/09/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Their Lives and Futures Remain on Hold

    By rescinding the DACA program, the President and Attorney General made clear their willingness to cut short the futures of more than 800,000 young people in America like Daniela and deny DACA benefits to additional Dreamers in line. These young people came to America as children with their parents and are following their dreams.
  • 03/02/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    A 50 Year Plea Persists

    “In 1968, the Kerner Commission concluded that America was heading toward ‘two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.’ Today, America’s communities are experiencing increasing racial tensions and inequality, working-class resentment over the unfulfilled American Dream, white supremacy violence, toxic inaction in Washington, and the decline of the nation’s example around the world.”
  • 02/23/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Violence Against Children

    Violence against children. For many people the words alone are unthinkable—the absolute worst of what humans are capable of doing. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida is a stark reminder of the violence that stalks our children in their schools, homes, places of worship, streets, and communities every day.
  • 02/15/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    How Long Until We Protect Children, Not Guns?!

    An entire generation of children are coming of age understanding that there is no safe space in America after bearing witness to horrifying massacres killing 26 and 9 people in churches in Texas and South Carolina, 58 at a concert in Nevada, 49 at a nightclub in Florida, 9at a college in Oregon, 14 at a workplace in California, 2 at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, in January, and now 17 more children and adults on an otherwise ordinary day at a high school in Florida.
  • 02/09/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Big Rainbows in the Political Clouds for Children: Some Really Really Good News

    God has sent some huge rainbows in the clouds for vulnerable children amidst a profoundly negative political climate. Good news these days has been few and far between but the Bipartisan Budget Package/Continuing Resolution (CR) signed by the President earlier today offers significant and long overdue hope to children, families and communities. We now must give our immediate attention to extending that good news to the nearly 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Dreamers and the other Dreamers not yet in DACA, who face a March 5th deadline that would end their hopes and dreams.
  • 02/02/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    The State of the Union: Morally Dead and Leaving Vulnerable Children Behind

    The President’s address was silent on the shameful problems of homelessness, hunger, the lack of poor quality early childhood and educational opportunities, needed reforms in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and the violence that plagues too many children in their families and communities that I laid out in a letter urging him to address the state of America’s children. This silence is a national embarrassment.
  • 01/26/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Keeping Promises

    The Continuing Resolution that ended this week’s government shutdown relied on a series of uncertain promises about meeting children’s needs and ensuring their futures. Congress did keep one very critical promise by finally passing a long overdue extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), giving new hope after 114 days of partisan politicking with the lives and health of the 8.9 million children who benefit from CHIP’s high-quality, child-appropriate affordable health coverage.
  • 01/19/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Charles Merrill: The Crucial Importance of Lanterns in Young Lives

    I have been so blessed with an abundance of lanterns in my life who have been indispensable guides and supports over many decades. I shared many of them in my book Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors. It has been very painful to lose so many in recent years but they are still very alive with me. Charles E. Merrill, Jr., a crucial lantern, died in November at age 97.
  • 01/12/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    The State of America’s Children Demands Your Action Right Now!

    It is a national disgrace that children are the poorest Americans. The Children’s Defense Fund’s new report The State of America’s Children® 2017 details the immoral, costly and preventable poverty, homelessness, hunger, health problems, poor education and violence plaguing children who are America’s responsibility and future.
  • 01/05/18

    Child Watch® Column:
    Missed Opportunities to Help Homeless Youths

    The new report Missed Opportunities from Voices of Youth Count, an initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, is the first in a series aimed at shining a spotlight on the quiet but enormous crisis of unaccompanied youth homelessness in America.
  • 12/29/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Hope for the New Year

    “Let’s keep building the nation and world all our children need and deserve.” Marian Wright Edelman wishes you courage, faith, and hope for the New Year!
  • 12/22/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Making Room at the Inn

    As we celebrate this holy season in many faiths and enter a new year, let us repent and reaffirm our commitment to building a nation where all children find room at our nation’s and world’s inn.
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