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Child Watch® Column: "A Thanksgiving Day Prayer to End Poverty in All Its Forms in Our Rich Land"

Release Date: November 23, 2010

Marian Wright Edelman

In this Thanksgiving week of 2010, when 15.5 million children are living in poverty—many hungry and homeless; when the gap between rich and poor is the highest ever; when the very richest Americans have reaped a huge tax windfall from the Bush tax cuts and some political leaders want to give them more; and when, incredibly, some political leaders are playing politics with the very survival of our children and earth in our nuclear saturated world by blocking immediate passage of the START treaty to control nuclear weapons, I hope we will pray for an end to child poverty in all of its forms.



God help us to end poverty in our time.

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight, and space in which to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer and get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have a car to get to the emergency room or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of somebody else's children and neglecting your own, and still not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you'll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job and searching and searching and searching for another amidst an epidemic scarcity of work.

The poverty of working all your life caring for others and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a day care center, and taking home $300 a week or even month if you're lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation—having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you're living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others, of emptiness and enslavement to things, drugs, power, money, violence, and fleeting fame.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, weak will and tiny vision, big meetings and small action, loud talk and sullen grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God's gifts of life and children and family and freedom and country and earth and not wanting for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming, and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the strong.

The poverty of addiction to drink, to work, to self, to the status quo, and to injustice.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is right.

The poverty of despair and cynicism.

          God help us end poverty in our time in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere.

          God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises—inside and out—physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that You intend in the richest nation on earth.


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Here's what others have said:

Submitted by diedamia at: November 28, 2010
powerful prayer. May all children learn this prayer in school.

Submitted by magoo at: November 27, 2010
If only those who need to read the message the most, would do so and make a difference

Submitted by Leanne at: November 25, 2010
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for pointing out that poverty is not just about economics but can be poverty of the soul too. This IS the most important issue.

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 25, 2010

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 25, 2010

Submitted by progwoman at: November 25, 2010
What a powerful prayer! It feels charged with righteousness and insistence, and I ought to pray it every day.

Submitted by dlberek at: November 25, 2010
Thank you, Marian. For standing up to the selfishness, greed, and cynicism that have gripped our society, while leaving of our fellow citizens in the cold and dark. And, most of all, thank you for speaking on behalf of the children. For, as my hero Janusz Korczak said, "Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously, and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be – the unknown person inside each of them is our hope for the future." You, Marian, are the Janusz Korczak of today.

Submitted by Felicitas at: November 25, 2010
I am sooo thankful for Chlidren's Defense Fund and your prophetic commitment to the "least of these," our poor children. DEEPEST THANKS.

Submitted by winnie at: November 25, 2010
The conservative right believes that everyone should be able to pull themselves up by their own boot straps even if some people don't have any boots.

Submitted by Black Soul Yoga Diva at: November 25, 2010
Thanks for the spiritual reminder that I must live simply so that others may simply Live.