Child Watch® Columns

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  • 12/07/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Determined to Make a Difference"

    This year New York is facing the worst homeless crisis since the Great Depression. The city homeless population included a record-breaking 42,888 children. The many ways poverty scars a child today and long into the future are well-documented. Children who have to navigate the harsh reality of homelessness on top of poverty often fall through our already porous safety nets and disproportionately drop out of school and then too often drop into the prison pipeline.
  • 11/30/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Speaking Up for and Demanding Full-Day Kindergarten"

    About four million American children celebrated a very big milestone this fall—their first day of kindergarten. Far too many were already a step or more behind their peers. If we want all of our children to be school-ready so that they can become college, career, and workforce-ready, it’s long past time to offer universal quality prekindergarten followed by universal full-day kindergarten in the United States.
  • 11/21/12

    Child Watch® Column: "A Thanksgiving Prayer to Stand for Children and Our Nation’s Future"

    Children did not ask to be born, did not choose their parents, state, zip code, race, or income level. I share the belief of all great faiths that every child is sacred. I believe in America’s promise, yet to be fulfilled, that every child and person has a right to a fair and level playing field on which to survive and thrive. That millions of our children lack the most basic protections of health care, nutrition, housing, safety, early childhood development supports, education which prepares them for college or career and productive work, and stable family support, threatens our national, economic and military security now and in the future.
  • 11/16/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Giving Thanks for the Hard Times"

    Thanksgiving is a season when many Americans gather with our families over full dinner tables to count our blessings. Seventeen-year-old Eva Maria Turcios and her family take very little for granted any day, including the blessing of having any dinner at all: “I mean, there were nights where we didn’t have anything to put in our stomachs. Like we’d just have to drink water. And I guess there’s times where we didn’t know where we were going to live. But now it’s just a normal thing for us. When we’re faced with problems like that, we don’t sit there and cry about it. We don’t sit there and wait for someone to do something for us. My mom and I just figure out something, a way for us to make it to the next day, to put food in our stomachs, to have a roof over our heads.”
  • 11/09/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Forward for Children"

    For all those who voted, our work and duty is not done. We need to make sure to tell the President and Congress to “be very careful what you cut” and make our voices heard now and for as long as necessary. Children, the poor and the middle class cannot afford more devastating cuts and instability as they continue to struggle against hunger, homelessness, joblessness, and loss of summer school and regular school days as a result of this long economic downturn.
  • 11/02/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Paying it Forward After Beating the Odds"

    When Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, spoke at the Children’s Defense Fund’s recent national conference, she shared some details about her son that reminded the audience both how special Trayvon was to his family and at the same time how much the happy, social high school student was like any mother’s child. “He was very affectionate. He loved to hug and kiss us at 17. He was still a loving teenager . . . He liked to go to the movies. He liked to go to the mall. He liked to dress nice. He had to smell good. He used to talk on the phone all the time with the girls . . . He was just a loving guy. He loved sports. He loved the outdoors. If he was in this room right now, he would be walking around talking to a lot of you right now.”
  • 10/26/12

    Child Watch® Column: "'We Have Decided to Turn the Pain into Power'"

    When Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, spoke at the Children’s Defense Fund’s recent national conference, she shared some details about her son that reminded the audience both how special Trayvon was to his family and at the same time how much the happy, social high school student was like any mother’s child. “He was very affectionate. He loved to hug and kiss us at 17. He was still a loving teenager . . . He liked to go to the movies. He liked to go to the mall. He liked to dress nice. He had to smell good. He used to talk on the phone all the time with the girls . . . He was just a loving guy. He loved sports. He loved the outdoors. If he was in this room right now, he would be walking around talking to a lot of you right now.”
  • 10/19/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Making America America"

    Dr. Vincent Harding, an acclaimed historian, religious scholar, and activist known for his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believes America is a wounded nation. Even after so many years of struggle, he is convinced that America can and must get better.
  • 10/12/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Inspiring Lessons from Ruby Bridges: A True American Heroine"

    As a six-year-old first grader in New Orleans in 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first Black student to attend an all-White elementary school in the South. She showed unforgettable loving forgiveness and courage when faced with the ugly screaming White mobs who jeered and taunted her every day as she walked into William Frantz Elementary School. Federal marshals had to escort Ruby to school, but she never quit or turned back. Ruby astonished her teacher one day when she asked Ruby why she had paused and talked to the crowd of White adults that morning, and Ruby responded, “I wasn’t talking. I was praying. I was praying for them.”
  • 10/05/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Power is in Your Person"

    As the founder of the Agricultural Workers Association, the co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers union, and the founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for community organizing, Dolores Huerta has spent decades working relentlessly to improve social and economic conditions for farm workers and to fight discrimination in all forms. In the process she has improved the lives of countless children and families, especially poor and immigrant families. Huerta started out with a mission to be a teacher, but quickly realized that most of her students were children of farm workers who lived in poverty. She couldn’t stand seeing the children coming to class hungry and needing shoes and she thought she could do even more to help them by organizing their parents. Huerta’s many successes over the years have proven her right about the power every person can have once they are ready to claim it and work together with others for change.
  • 09/28/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Families Struggle: Child Poverty Remains Epidemically High"

    The U.S. Census Bureau’s new poverty data for the states show millions of families struggling mightily to keep their heads above water in the wake of the Great Recession. Fourteen states saw statistically significant increases in their child poverty rates, 26 states saw small increases, and nine states and the District of Columbia saw small declines in child poverty rates last year. But the morally scandalous bottom line is clear: 16.1 million children are poor in our rich nation with more than seven million living in extreme poverty, too often scared, hungry, and homeless.
  • 09/21/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Undocumented and Unafraid"

    Carlos Amador emigrated with his family from Mexico in 1999 at age 14 and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for almost 13 years until he recently received conditional permanent residency. Higher education for someone like him seemed like an impossible dream when Carlos finished high school. But he was determined to make it happen.
  • 09/14/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Ryanomics Assault on Poor and Hungry Children"

    The Ryan budget does not name or touch any of the many expensive incentives, loopholes or subsidies that help the powerful and the wealthy. It doesn’t close loopholes or rein in incentives to corporations who invest in or take jobs overseas to the tune of about $129 billion over ten years. It doesn’t touch the tax advantage for private equity partners which now provides a $15 billion windfall over ten years or the tax preferences for oil and gas companies that cost about $40 billion a year.
  • 09/07/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Holding on at the 'Center of Hope'"

    Every 29 seconds, a child is born into poverty in America. Every 29 seconds. One hundred and twenty-four children every hour. Children like 10-year-old Tyler, five-year-old Keiris, and four-year-old Jerimiah, who live with their mother, Christina Wyatt, 24, in Middletown, Ohio. Last summer the family moved into the Center of Hope for Women and Children, a homeless shelter, after their apartment was robbed and they were evicted. Their only income at that point was a Social Security disability check for Tyler, who has Down syndrome. “I had to, really,” Christina said about moving into the shelter. “We didn’t have anywhere to go.”
  • 08/31/12

    Child Watch® Column: "The Racial Divide: Will It Widen or Close?"

    When Dr. Khalil Muhammad speaks people listen. He is a scholar, historian, and the director of the New York Public Library’s renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Dr. Muhammad knows a lot about the importance of being mindful of learning from history. When he spoke about equality of opportunity to 1800 young leaders at a Children’s Defense Fund’s Haley Farm leadership training session in June, he explained that our nation is testing the old saying “those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
  • 08/24/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Without a Gun How Many Lives Would Have Been Saved?"

    When news broke of the murders at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5th, people of all faiths and backgrounds and the first responders who came to the scene to help were horrified by the ambush on men and women as they prepared for worship services. Leaders across the country quickly denounced the hate crime and the FBI immediately began investigating the attack as a possible case of domestic terrorism. But as easy as it was for all of us to be outraged by another senseless attack and heartbroken by the congregation’s stories, it was difficult to be surprised by how it took place again in a nation unwilling to curb guns designed just to kill lots of people in the hands of lawless people. Would this have happened without a semi-automatic gun and high-capacity clips of bullets?
  • 08/17/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Mapping the War on the Right to Vote"

    At the Children's Defense Fund’s recent national conference Barbara Arnwine, the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a leader of Election Protection, the nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, issued an urgent call to action. Right now assaults on voting rights across the country in advance of the 2012 elections are keeping her very busy.
  • 08/10/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Be Careful What You Cut"

    Right before the U.S. House of Representatives left for the summer to go home to campaign for your vote, they voted to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the richest Americans – millionaires and billionaires. For more than ten years the richest one percent have received almost $750 billion from these tax cuts. Income and wealth inequality have grown astronomically threatening the very fabric of our democracy. The top one percent in our nation now possesses more net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined. In 2008, the 400 highest-income taxpayers earned as much as the combined tax revenue of 22 state governments with almost 42 million citizens. It’s way past time to reset our moral and economic compass, demand a more just tax system where those with the most pay their fair share, and stop the reverse Robin Hood policies that take from the poor and young to give to the rich and powerful.
  • 08/03/12

    Child Watch® Column: "The State of America’s Children 2012"

    Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” When we look at the state of our union and the state of America’s children in 2012, his words ring very true. It’s impossible to deny that our nation’s economy, professed values of equal opportunity, future, and soul are all in danger right now.
  • 07/27/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Critical Investment Advice from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke"

    On July 24th, Dr. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, gave a video keynote speech to 3,200 community and youth leaders attending the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati—not on the details of national fiscal policy, but on the crucial importance of effective early childhood supports and public education to the success of our economy.
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