Child Watch® Columns

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  • 03/11/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    America, I Am You

    America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ is a toxic cocktail of poverty, illiteracy, racial disparities, violence and massive incarceration which sentences millions of children of color to social and economic death. Once young people have entered the prison pipeline, to many people they become invisible, just a statistic.
  • 03/04/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    America’s Back Door

    The Harvard Gazette has released a series of articles on inequality in America. They describe Harvard University scholars’ efforts across a range of disciplines to identify and understand this nation defining and dividing concern and possible solutions.
  • 02/26/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Third Reconstruction Era

    The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is in the final stages of construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., next to the Washington Monument and near the National Museum of American History. It will be a transformative and long-overdue landmark in the center of the nation’s capital.
  • 02/19/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Other Washington

    The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is in the final stages of construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., next to the Washington Monument and near the National Museum of American History. It will be a transformative and long-overdue landmark in the center of the nation’s capital.
  • 02/12/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Winifred Green: An Unsung Warrior for Racial and Economic Justice

    Transforming movements towards social justice depend on the work of a core group of committed and persistent and not always frontline soldiers — women and men who seize the moment and choose to stand up for what is right. My beloved friend and longtime Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) board member Winifred Green, who died February 6, 2016, was one of those unsung heroines.
  • 02/05/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Leading the March towards Criminal Justice

    Bryan Stevenson’s inspiring and best-selling book Just Mercy shares some of the fruits of his lifelong fight to push our nation closer to true justice. In January our nation took two more steps forward in the ongoing struggle to treat children like children and ensure a fairer justice system for all, especially for our poor and those of color.
  • 01/29/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Hungry Children in Rich America

    Sarah is three years old. She and her six-year-old brother, Bryce, are inseparable except when it’s time for him to visit the summer food program that provides meals at a school near his Ohio home for children who otherwise would go hungry.
  • 01/22/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Single Spark

    Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should sharply remind us that the Civil Rights Movement should never just be chapters in history books. I was so proud of high school students from Seattle, Washington who learned how they could make a difference in the world around them.
  • 01/15/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Learning

    Brandon, a six year old in the Houston Independent School District, had two working parents until his father was laid off. Brandon lost his health insurance when his father lost his job. Brandon’s mother quickly scrambled to try to enroll her son who has asthma in new coverage, but met some obstacles and didn’t know where to turn. Then the school district, which had been working with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and AASA (The School Superintendents Association), through a partnership supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies, stepped in and helped her find coverage for Brandon under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). With his new health coverage, doctors discovered Brandon also had high blood pressure and prescribed medicine to control it. Now the school nurse monitors his blood pressure every day and Brandon is healthy and happy to be in school learning.
  • 01/08/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Guns Lethalize Anger and Despair

    “Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns -- 30,000. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life.”
  • 01/01/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Whither America

    The start of this New Year finds America at an inflection point as wars and terrorism abroad are echoed in violence, suspicion, and fear at home. How will we meet the moment? Hundreds of organizations and individuals have signed on to the urgent message of the campaign We Are Better Than This: “We grieve the many lives that have been lost or painfully transformed in recent weeks through extreme acts of violence.
  • 12/23/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Christmas Prayer

    Three years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut where a lone 20-year-old gunman wielding an assault weapon snuffed out 26 child and teacher lives, our nation has done shamefully little to protect children instead of guns. This week more than ten thousand people attended over 100 Orange Walks in 43 states to stand up and deliver a rallying cry that we must and can end gun violence in America according to Moms Demand Action – a cry that must continue and get louder and louder until our tone deaf political leaders hear or are retired from office.
  • 12/18/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Why Are Children Less Valuable Than Guns in America?
    It’s Time to Protect Children

    Three years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut where a lone 20-year-old gunman wielding an assault weapon snuffed out 26 child and teacher lives, our nation has done shamefully little to protect children instead of guns. This week more than ten thousand people attended over 100 Orange Walks in 43 states to stand up and deliver a rallying cry that we must and can end gun violence in America according to Moms Demand Action – a cry that must continue and get louder and louder until our tone deaf political leaders hear or are retired from office.
  • 12/11/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Education Inequality Struggle

    This has been a hard year for poor children and children of color in a gridlocked and cantankerous Congress. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replacing the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted after gutting a strong federal role in education policy designed to protect these children and jeopardizing their opportunity for a fair and adequate education to prepare them for work in our globalizing economy. Over the past 50 years under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act too many states violated their responsibility to serve their poor and non-White children equitably, did not comply with the law and misused huge amounts of the funds intended for poor children for other purposes. With the loss of federal accountability in the new Act, I hope we will not see the mistakes of the past repeated and poor children fall further behind.
  • 12/04/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Who Put The NRA in Charge of Our National Security?

    With the echo of gunshots from the San Bernardino massacre ricocheting across the country, and another American community reeling with new broken hearts, it sounds like a reasonable plea for common sense legislation a responsible lawmaker might make today. This quote from Senator Robert Kennedy’s letter to a constituent was written just over a year before he would be assassinated by a gun on June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles. Since Robert Kennedy’s and Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 deaths more than 164,000 children have died from gun violence in America—three times more than all the American soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam War and every external conflict since.
  • 11/25/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Prayer of Thanksgiving to the God of all Children in America and the World

    O God of the children of Syria, Nigeria and Liberia, of Sudan, South Africa and South Carolina, Of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Myanmar — Dalits too — of Israel, Iran and Iraq Of the Congo, Central America, Charleston, and Cleveland, of Darfur and Detroit, of Libya, Yemen and Ukraine, Nepal and New Orleans, Help us to love and respect and protect and welcome them all.
  • 11/20/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Ugly Truths It’s Way Past Time for America to Face

    On November 14, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced the university will rename two buildings on campus named for two 19th century Georgetown University presidents: Thomas F. Mulledy, who in 1838 arranged the sale of 272 slaves from Jesuit owned Maryland plantations and used the profit to pay Georgetown’s construction debts, and William McSherry, who also sold other Jesuit owned slaves and was Mulledy’s adviser.
  • 11/13/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Revising the Undemocratic ‘Map of Shame’

    Barbara Arnwine has long been sounding the alarm about twenty-first century efforts to turn back the clock on voting rights. She recently founded the Transformative Justice Coalition after serving for many years as Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and head of its Election Protection efforts, the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition. Under her leadership the Lawyers’ Committee created a “Map of Shame” highlighting states where new or pending legislation threatens to suppress the right to vote—which, as she says, remains under attack in 2015 by forces who still believe the right to vote should stay in the hands of a precious few.
  • 11/06/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Helping Children Cope with Crisis

    Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children, Elaine Zimmerman helps meet many child needs in her state including sharing advice to help children cope with terrible events.
  • 10/30/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Adults Are the Problem

    Amidst the shameful dysfunctional legislative gridlock of the U.S. House of Representatives, it was a great joy this week to celebrate a time and a leader – former Minnesota Senator and Vice President Walter Mondale – when bipartisanship, common sense and a national moral commitment to children and families almost became the law of the land for young children.
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