Child Watch® Column:
A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Our Nation to Stand Up for All Our Children

Release Date: November 23, 2016

Marian Wright Edelman

Lord I can’t preach like Martin Luther King, Jr.
or turn a poetic phrase like Maya Angelou
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others to move our children forward in this time of Thanksgiving.

I don’t have Harriet Tubman’s courage
or Eleanor Roosevelt’s political skills
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others to save all our children no matter how hard the challenge.

I cannot sing like Marian Anderson or Fannie Lou Hamer
or organize like Ella Baker and Bayard Rustin
but I care and am willing to serve and stand up with others until all our children get health care.

I am not holy like Archbishop Tutu, forgiving like President Mandela
or disciplined like Mahatma Gandhi
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until child poverty is abolished.

I am not brilliant like Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois or Elizabeth Cady Stanton
or as eloquent as Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until every child has
an equal and quality education.

I don’t have Mother Teresa’s saintliness
or The Dalai Lama’s or Dorothy Day’s or Cesar Chavez’s gentle tough spirit
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until no child is hungry
or homeless in rich America.

God it is not as easy as the 60’s to frame an issue and forge a solution
but we will keep trying until we succeed because we care and are willing to serve and stand together with others to protect our children.

My mind and body are not so swift as in youth and my energy comes in spurts
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others and organize and do whatever is necessary to protect our children from gun violence.

Some will think I’m so young nobody will listen
I feel invisible and hopeless and I’m not sure what to say or do
but you can say I care and am willing to serve and
work with others to break up the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.

Some say we can’t see or hear well, don’t speak good English, stutter sometimes
and get real scared, standing up before others
but let’s take a stand and do whatever we can to organize with others to save all our children.

God, in this time of Thanksgiving
use me as You will to save Your children today and tomorrow and to keep building
a nation and world fit for children and where no child is left behind and every child is welcome and valued.

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® 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. For more information go to

Mrs. Edelman's Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.

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Here's what others have said:

Submitted by andrea at: January 12, 2017
This prayer is a blessed message from the holy spirit and encouragement to me as I am reminder to pray unceasingly, With gratitude and thanksgiving always.

Submitted by RoseDee at: November 25, 2016
I love this piece! It expresses everything I feel as an organizer right now.. Inept. Ill equipped. Confused. Yet still eager to put myself out there because the need is so great. One thing i would add, Mrs. E., is that we must stand up and serve to protect our children from climate chaos.

Submitted by Adele at: November 25, 2016
Bless you for reminding me to be grateful for what I have and to work for a more perfect world. I have kept a number of your statements and keep them in a special inspritiational file. Keep on keeping on! Blessings!

Submitted by susana at: November 25, 2016
Thank you Marian for being able and inspired to write such a heartfelt prayer. I am crying with joy. sofures

Submitted by Mary at: November 25, 2016
Right on

Submitted by Gina H. at: November 25, 2016
Thank you Ms. Wright Edelman. I have your book Lanterns on my nightstand. This prayer has made me cry. Thank you for your noble and gentle guidance, and this Prayer.

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 25, 2016
Beauriful words to live by! Happy Thanksgiving!

Submitted by Sassi at: November 24, 2016
Love it!!!

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 24, 2016
Powerful statement and prayer. I like it and support help and caring for every child.

Submitted by Leslie at: November 24, 2016
Literacy and addressing Hunger are important. A family needs other forms of support to do well in many ways. The extreme difference in income level in Connecticut and elsewhere have other implications. They include health as well as poverty.

Submitted by Peggy at: November 24, 2016
Excellent. I only knew about Fanny Lou Hamer's civil rights work...I didn't know she could sing too.

Submitted by Oldprof at: November 24, 2016
This is a poem of peace. It is a thing of beauty and leaves me with tears and hope that we can if we will make a better safer world for those who come.

Submitted by Robster at: November 24, 2016
I was deeply moved by these poetic words and thank you for sharing them with all of us. As I continue to prepare for the family gathering Thanksgiving day, I cannot help but think of some of my students at the school where I work, and pray they are safe, happy, and spending time with their families. Yes.....we all will continue to work with our beloved population of children.....and show them daily how much they are loved and cared about. We must never turn our backs on them, we must always be willing to listen to them with an open heart and mind, for if we look into the eyes of each child, and see right through to their hearts, it is there we may find their tears..........Blessings to all........Roby xo

Submitted by Tony Fairhead at: November 24, 2016
Yes indeed. We need to pray for a nation "where no child is left behind" and this means striving for nutritional equity for children starting at the age of "Minus 9 Months." An anonymous telephone survey in the Cincinnati area revealed that “For households below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, 54% reported food insecurity.” This means that childhood food insecurity affects about 19,000 children in Cincinnati. They say its 16 million nationwide but we know about Cincinnati. The problem of food insecurity is hidden in normal life because parents and guardians cannot admit to not providing food for their children for fear their children will be taken away. Each of the three major government food support programs has a fatal flaw. SNAP demands too much budgeting ability. School meals leave out 180 days a year and WIC for mothers-to-be does not provide child nutrition before conception and early in their development. Nine years of testing in Cincinnati has led to only one solution – placing sacks of groceries in the hands of elementary-age children: - They can bring food home without “stigma” because they already receive free meals at school. - They carry food into neighborhoods that would be dangerous for us “do-gooders” – these children are simply coming home. - They share their food with all other household members so, if you provide enough food, you can achieve nutritional equity for siblings and potential siblings starting at "Minus 9 Months". Childhood Food Solutions is seeking input from others and wants to find partners who can “stand on the shoulders” of what we have achieved as a tiny organization with no paid staff. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 24, 2016
I will do whatever I can.

Submitted by Elizabeth at: November 24, 2016
Blessings and gratitude for your perseverance and promise of a better day and way to end the heartaches of violence.

Submitted by Art Cribbs at: November 24, 2016
Thank you, Ms Edelman, for this very important prayer and proclamation of faith and hope and vision and action. Thank for your inclusive call that sweeps across the sea of historical relevance and speaks directly to each one whose eyes cross your words of courage for a time such as this. Yes, we can and we must act with a pledge of alliance to pray with our feet and act nonviolently with power placed in our hands from Above.

Submitted by Dream Keeper at: November 23, 2016
Thank you for your encouraging words. They provide courage and reflection for those of us who are feeling somewhat bewildered and lost. You have always been one of my heroines because you provide a moral compass and a guiding light when the path ahead seems dark and discouraging.

Submitted by Steve at: November 23, 2016
A beautiful prayer! Thank you...

Submitted by otto at: November 23, 2016
Beautifully written and inspiring. Thank you