Child Watch® Columns

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  • 02/16/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Confronting Oscar-Nominated Moonlight’s Moving and Powerful Truths

    Everyone should watch the film Moonlight nominated for eight Academy Awards. Why? Because it’s a very powerful story of a poor Black boy’s struggles to reach adulthood with countless odds stacked against him. Because it’s a relatable story for children and youths struggling to make it to adulthood without being derailed by sexual orientation, violence and drugs. Because it’s my or your story if we faced perilous hurdles to survive, learn in school and have a safe place to sleep at night. Because it’s a too common American story – one not everyone wants to tell and too few want or are ready to hear and do anything about.
  • 02/10/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Welcome to the Land of Opportunity

    At a time when the national conversation is focused on building walls and closing doors against immigrants, Carlos is an immigrant with another goal. He’s setting an example of what’s possible when hardworking smart young people come to America determined to beat the odds and make a difference.
  • 02/03/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Ripping America Apart

    If you are reeling from the series of Executive Orders and Memoranda issued by President Trump in his first two weeks in office, and horrified by what clearly seems to be an unconstitutional, un-American and unjust ban on Muslims from seven countries that has caused outrage at home and abroad, keep reading.
  • 01/27/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Leslie Dunbar: An Indispensable One

    A number of years ago, I heard a deeply moving story at a Children’s Miracle Network event, a charity that raises money in partnership with children’s hospitals around the country and helps serve sick and injured children in their local communities. A speaker shared this heart-wrenching story of a father and son with the audience and agreed to let me share it with others after I requested a copy.
  • 01/19/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Scott's Story: Lessons Children Teach Adults

    A number of years ago, I heard a deeply moving story at a Children’s Miracle Network event, a charity that raises money in partnership with children’s hospitals around the country and helps serve sick and injured children in their local communities. A speaker shared this heart-wrenching story of a father and son with the audience and agreed to let me share it with others after I requested a copy.
  • 01/13/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Moral Courage: Standing Up for What is Right

    On Wednesday, Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA) joined the list of speakers testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General of the United States. Both were assigned to a panel at the very end of the hearing process, a slot fellow panelist Representative Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, called “the equivalent of being made to go to the back of the bus.” Several Senate committee members who have already publically supported Senator Sessions left before Senator Booker’s and Representative Lewis’ important testimony began. But that didn’t deter them from speaking out against the threat they see to the civil rights progress our nation has made if Senator Sessions becomes Attorney General.
  • 01/06/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Keep Your Hand on the Plow! HOLD ON!

    I begin each year with a women’s spiritual retreat at Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Haley Farm in Tennessee. This year Reverend Janet Wolf, Director of CDF Haley Farm and Nonviolent Organizing, shared a meditation based on Langston Hughes’ brilliant 1943 poem “Freedom’s Plow” that she had been using in her ministry on Tennessee’s death row consisting of both incarcerated “insiders” and “outsiders.” All of us were caught up in the poem’s descriptions of centuries of American struggle against oppression and for America’s promised dream of freedom and justice for all.
  • 12/30/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Prayers for the Work Ahead for Our Children

    As we look to a new year, here are a few prayers to help guide us for the work ahead.
  • 12/22/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Prayer to End Poverty In Our Time

    In December 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached what would be his last Christmas sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. At the end Dr. King spoke about the day he told the nation at the March on Washington that he had a dream for America’s future, but said in the uncertain years that had followed that dream sometimes felt like it was turning into a nightmare. But Dr. King said he was never willing to give up:
  • 12/16/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    I Agree With Donald Trump

    The hugely over-budget F-35 fighter jet program recently returned to the headlines when President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”
  • 12/09/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Love Trumps Hate

    This is usually a season of familiar scenes in schools across the country, with holiday programs featuring messages of peace and goodwill to all. But this year many teachers and students have been seeing another story.
  • 12/02/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Stay Strong: Fight Back

    At one of my very discouraging times, I heard my beloved late spiritual director Gordon Cosby of the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. read this “Request for Transfer” by an unknown author which I return to at very tough times.
  • 11/23/16

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

    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 and save our children in this time of Thanksgiving.
  • 11/11/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Bringing America Together for Our Children's Sake

    What kind of people do we want to be? What kind of people do we want our children to be? What kind of moral examples, teachings, choices — personal, community, economic, faith, and political — are we parents, grandparents, community adults, political leaders, and citizens prepared to make in this new century and millennium to make our children strong inside and empower them to seek and help build a more just, compassionate, and less violent society and world?
  • 11/04/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Keep Moving Forward on the Path Towards Justice

    You must vote for better futures for the millions of children left behind and for closing our country’s morally obscene and killing income, wealth, and educational gaps. Get out and vote and say thank you to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Medgar Evers and Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer who were beaten, bombed and killed for your and my right to vote. Get out to vote for Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner and Sandra Bland who can’t vote to stop renegade law enforcement practices. Get out to vote for all those hungry and homeless and illiterate children who have no voice in the political process and have to make their way daily through gun saturated streets of terror. Get out to vote to help ensure that another Newtown tragedy does not occur at the hands of an unstable adolescent wielding a gun loaded with large capacity ammunition magazines that have no business in the hands of unstable youths.
  • 10/21/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Hope for the Future Through Your Vote

    Hope for the Future is a series of twelve meditations that include Scripture passages, moving true stories, and examples from other movements and faithful leaders to inspire all those working to create a better world for our children. It’s a book that could be used as a devotional or in group discussions by everyone from parents to pastors. Rev. Daley-Harris has long been speaking out on the call to care for children in every major faith tradition and calling on people to turn faith into action. As the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s Religious Affairs Advisor and Director of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Ministry Institute for two decades, she coordinates the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebrations. Every year congregations of many faiths observe the Children’s Sabbath by drawing on Rev. Daley-Harris’s resources and the texts and teachings of their religious traditions to hear and respond to the holy and eternal call for love and justice that urges special care and protection for children, especially those who are poor.
  • 10/14/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Early Childhood Infrastructure Our Children and Nation Urgently Need

    Whether children will have a strong foundation is in large part determined by the social and physical environments in which they grow up. The first five years of a child’s life are the time of greatest brain development. If young children’s basic needs are met by experiencing consistent, nurturing interactions with loving adults, they are far more likely to meet their full potential. The United States has not made the necessary investments to support young children and families after the seismic shift from stay-at-home moms and two parent families to the current reality of two-parent-working families, or often single working moms with young children today. The major advances in what we now know about early childhood brain development make these investments more urgent. Our aging early childhood infrastructure is in dire need of repair. While we wait for critically needed investments, there has been important progress.
  • 10/07/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Do Your Part: "March to the Polls" and Vote

    If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, I am certain he would be urgently saying it is a moral imperative for each one of us to register and vote in our local, state, and national elections this year — and every year. Shortly after Congressman John Lewis spoke movingly at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he was asked on a radio show if he thought this was the time to organize another march on Washington. Without missing a beat, he replied: “I think the best march that we can have right now in America is on Election Day, November the eighth, for all of us all over America – Black and White, Latino, Native American, young people – to march to the polls. The vote is precious. It’s almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society.”
  • 09/30/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Honoring Sojourner Truth: Courageous Warrior for Justice, Equality and Freedom for All

    I was recently deeply honored to be asked by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to serve as sponsor for a Navy ship being named for Sojourner Truth, my lifelong heroine and North Star in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice in our land.
  • 09/23/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    The National Museum of African American History and Culture:
    Changing America’s Narrative

    The September 24 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the realization of a dream that’s been a very long time coming, beginning a century ago when Black leaders first proposed a memorial to Black Civil War veterans. Dr. Rex M. Ellis, the museum’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, speaking to young teachers during the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s 2016 Freedom Schools® training, shared his hopes that the museum will help light the way for the next generation of Americans and that the museum’s vision will “change the master narrative of our nation:”
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