Child Watch® Columns

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  • 08/23/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Where Do We Go From Here?"

    As the nation celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, many are discussing what Dr. King would say to the nation and world today and tell us to do. But his message to us today is as clear as it was fifty years ago if only we could hear, heed, and follow his warnings about what we need to do to make America America.
  • 08/16/13

    Child Watch® Column: "We Need a Change"

    In mid-July, students at Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer enrichment sites across the country participated in a National Day of Action. The Freedom Schools program seeks to empower children to know that they are not just citizens in waiting. We want them to grow up knowing that they can and must make a difference in their homes, schools, communities, nation, and world.
  • 08/09/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Invisible Children"

    When he was 15 Darryl ran away from home and got arrested and sentenced to two months in juvenile detention centers. When he tried to go back to high school, school officials said without guidance and support he couldn’t come back. They suggested he get a G.E.D. Soon he was arrested again. The turning point for Darryl was getting involved as a community organizer, finding a mentor, and going through leadership training programs.
  • 08/02/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Teddy Bears, Toy Guns, and Real Guns"

    Imagine your kindergartner is visiting a new friend’s house. During the hour they are running around together they’ll pick up and play with all three of the following things, but only two of them have been tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for safety standards. Which one do you want to be sure has been regulated for safety?
  • 07/26/13

    Child Watch® Column: "We Must Do Better: Look at the Facts"

    Have we been fighting the wrong wars to keep our children safe? Nearly five times more children and teens were killed by guns in 2010 than U.S. soldiers killed in action that year in Iraq and Afghanistan. America’s military and law enforcement agencies have four million guns. Our citizens have 310 million. And we have no idea how many of those guns were purchased without a background check. The gun lobby has been enriching gun manufacturers at the expense of our children’s safety for far too long.
  • 07/19/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Ready for School?"

    Is your child ready to start school? For parents and children trying hard to enjoy at least a few weeks more of downtime before beginning back to school shopping and school year routines all over again, the answer is probably a resounding not yet! But even when September arrives, for millions of American children the answer will still be no. Right now, far too many of our youngest children aren’t prepared to start school ready to learn and succeed this year or any year. Although some may consider me a broken record, I’ll keep playing it until we hear, get it, and act. The greatest threat to America’s economic, military, and national security comes from no foreign enemy but from our failure to invest in healthy and educated children regardless of their lottery of birth.
  • 07/14/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Justice Denied"

    The reaction to the not guilty verdict from George Zimmerman’s jury was swift and strong. Young people poured onto the streets in peaceful protests in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. By 3 a.m. more than 100,000 people signed an online petition urging the Justice Department to pursue civil rights violation charges against George Zimmerman.
  • 07/12/13

    Child Watch® Column: "It Just Takes Everything We’re Not Doing Now"

    “You don't have to be a Black male educator to teach Black students. You just have to love Black male children and believe that they have unlimited potential and opportunity, and they’re just as smart and capable as anyone else and caring. And it’s hard. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile,” said Michael Tubbs, an extraordinary young leader and teacher who is part of the Children’s Defense Fund youth leadership development movement. “It takes school, church, neighborhood, government, partnerships. It takes relevant curriculum. It takes love. It takes trial and error. It takes being creative. It takes messing up. It takes getting back up. It just takes everything we're not doing now.”
  • 07/03/13

    Child Watch® Column: "That Gun Changed Our Lives Forever"

    “My heart was shattered while I was working at 60 Minutes when my only sister was shot and killed by her husband. There was a restraining order that stopped nothing.”
  • 06/21/13

    Child Watch® Column: "A Quiet American Epidemic"

    Thirteen-year-old Michael Graham, an eighth grader at Henry H. Wells Middle School in Brewster, New York, was popular with his classmates and played football, basketball, and lacrosse. But this year on January 14th, Michael committed suicide using a pistol he had found in his home. Michael’s father had three unregistered handguns in the house: a .40 caliber, a 9mm, and a .44 Magnum.
  • 06/21/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Soon We Will Visit the Museum to See Poverty"

    “We can change the world . . . . Let’s believe in it; let’s make it happen so that someday soon we will visit the museum to see poverty because we will never see poverty in society. It does not belong in a civilized society.”
  • 06/14/13

    Child Watch® Column: "We Can Do Better"

    Guns killed more preschoolers in one year than they did law-enforcement officers in the line of duty. Ask yourself if this is really what we as Americans meant by putting our children first?
  • 06/07/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Stress, Trauma, Loss, Rage"

    What if we looked at violence in America as a public health crisis rather than a crime problem? What if we look for promising practices and expanded the ones that work to eliminate the epidemic of violence that keeps our graveyards, jails, and prisons full? That is exactly the approach recommended by a panel of the nation’s leading gun violence researchers in a report released this week by the Institute of Medicine. Convened by the federal government in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the panel provides a national road map for the research that needs to be done to prevent gun violence and improve public safety, especially for our most vulnerable.
  • 05/31/13

    Child Watch® Column: "It Didn't Have to Happen"

    “I’m learning that milestones are a very difficult thing to get through in this first year . . . Everything has become ‘after Noah’s death,’” said Jodi Sandoval through a stream of tears. Jodi lost her 14-year-old son Noah McGuire to gun violence in Clintonville, Ohio on July 5, 2012.
  • 05/24/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Numb - Spiritually Dead - Nation"

    Ka’Nard Allen has been shot twice in his 10-year-old life. On May 12 he went with his mother to the annual Mother’s Day second line parade in New Orleans. When two gunmen shot into the line of participants—men, women and children—Ka’Nard’s cheek was struck by a bullet. Eighteen other people were wounded including a 10-year-old girl. Less than a year ago, at Ka’Nard’s 10th birthday party in his front yard, his five-year-old cousin Brianna Allen was fatally shot by an AK-47, and he was shot in the neck.
  • 05/17/13

    Child Watch® Column: "How Children Transformed America"

    This teenage boy overheard talking to his father by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the hundreds of Birmingham children and youths who fifty years ago this month decided to stand up for freedom. They stood up to fire hoses and police dogs and went to jail by the hundreds and finally broke the back of Jim Crow in that city known as “Bombingham.” On this fiftieth anniversary of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade it is a time to remember, honor, and follow the example of the children who were frontline soldiers and transforming catalysts in America’s greatest moral movement of the twentieth century – the movement for civil rights and equal justice.
  • 05/10/13

    Child Watch® Column: "A Mother’s Day of Action to Protect Children from Gun Violence"

    This Mother’s Day, Nardyne Jefferies is one of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s “Faces of Courage.” They are part of a club no mother ever wants to join. Most, like Nardyne, have lost children to gun violence.
  • 05/03/13

    Child Watch® Column: "Children Need to Fly Too: End Sequestration"

    Anyone despairing that Congress can’t get anything done should note last week’s swift vote to get furloughed air traffic controllers back to work. Congress can move very quickly and efficiently when it wants to and when their own comfort and that of constituents well-off enough to fly was affected. Reduced unemployment benefits, children dropped suddenly from Head Start programs, poor mothers and babies losing food supplements, teacher layoffs, and cancelled meal deliveries for seniors didn’t move them—but airport delays as members headed out of town for their April recess were apparently unacceptable.
  • 04/26/13

    Child Watch® Column: "A Child Without Dreams"

    Every day four children in America are killed by abuse or neglect. More than 750,000 children are abused or neglected each year. Even when children survive or after physical scars heal, the emotional damage left by child abuse and neglect can last a lifetime just as the post traumatic stress left by gun violence leaves deep scars in countless children.
  • 04/20/13

    Child Watch® Column: “We Must Never Give Up!”

    The United States Senate’s failure to pass common sense gun safety measures -- the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks to keep guns away from underage or dangerous people, and amendments to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines designed only to kill as many human beings as possible -- is a moral failure of great magnitude. Once again the safety of children has been sacrificed by political leaders in service to the gun lobby. As Americans do we value guns more than the lives of children? Do we really want to continue to have political leaders who kowtow to the threats and money and half-truths of the gun lobby and who think their political jobs are more important than the right of children to live and learn and grow up in safety?
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