The Children’s Defense Fund is dedicated to providing a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities.
CDF’s 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. That is why CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s leading peace and justice advocates, has called Bryan Stevenson “America’s Nelson Mandela.” He has gotten innocent men off death row, successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times, including to ban “death sentences” — capital punishment and life imprisonment without parole for offenses committed by juveniles. In June this man of great moral clarity and brilliance spoke about “How to Keep Black Boys Alive” to 2,000 college-age Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® servant leaders at CDF-Haley Farm. He focused on how we can break up the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ that feeds 1 in 3 Black and 1 in 6 Latino boys born in 2001 into America’s morally indefensible and unjust mass incarceration system.
Democracy cannot breathe, and will die, if those enjoined to protect and uphold the law snuff it out unjustly and without consequence. Justice cannot breathe when Black men and boys and women and girls are routinely profiled, abused, arrested, and killed with impunity by police officers. We must stop this. We must protect the lives of our young people—all of them.
Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at The Ohio State University and a Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology. He also has faculty appointments in the Ohio State John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Department of African American and African Studies, and Education Policy, Engineering Education, and Sexuality Studies programs. But none of these credentials mattered one bit when Dr. Strayhorn was pulled over by a White police officer a week before he spoke at the June Children’s Defense Fund training for college-age students preparing to teach at CDF Freedom Schools® sites across the country this summer. He shared this story with the 2,000 young mostly non-White leaders because it was an integral part of his message for the young teachers in training: “How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive.”
Thank you for your interest in inviting a CDF speaker to your event. Note that if a request requires CDF staff to make a trip out of town, CDF asks that the requesting organization pay all expenses for travel and hotel accommodations.
Requests for Marian Wright Edelman to speak should be emailed to Michele Smith at email@example.com. Please include the date, time and location of the event, as well as background on the event/organization and the expected attendance. If Mrs. Edelman accepts, you will be responsible for lodging and round-trip travel expenses for Mrs. Edelman and a staff member, plus a $35,000 donation (honorarium) to the Children’s Defense Fund in lieu of a traditional speaker's fee.
For media inquiries, to request an interview with Mrs. Edelman, or to request information about any other CDF speaker, please complete and submit the form below. Because of coordinating schedules and travel, it may take a few weeks to confirm whether a CDF speaker is available. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Patti Hassler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 662-3554.