Child Watch® Columns

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  • 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.
  • 10/23/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Recalling a Time When Congressional Bipartisanship Worked for Young Children

    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.
  • 10/16/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Teaching the Truth About America’s History: Only the Truth Can Make Us Free

    Were my African ancestors, who were stolen at gunpoint from their homes and families, dragged in chains into the dark and crowded cargo hulls of ships for the often-fatal Middle Passage, and brutalized, beaten, and forced into chattel slavery for generations, just like many of the other “immigrants” who came to America in order to “work”?
  • 10/09/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Learning Through Loss to Beat the Odds

    When Elijah was born his mother, a young college student, was chronically ill with sickle cell anemia. “I don’t really have too many memories of her outside of her being sick . . . One time when I was little, I think we had driven by the hospital and I said something like, ‘Oh, look. It’s Mommy’s second home.’”
  • 10/02/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Progress for Children's Health

    Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working and helping get people health coverage. This is a welcome stark contrast to new census data showing children remain our poorest age group and the younger they are the poorer they are.
  • 09/25/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Piercing Cry of Child Poverty in Economically Rich but Spiritually Poor America

    Pope Francis speaks out faithfully and forcefully against poverty and has been called “the pope of the poor.” But on his first visit to the United States there was demoralizing news about poverty, especially child poverty, in our nation—the world’s largest economy.
  • 09/18/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Young Black Males: Pushed Out and Pushed Away

    We need to stand up and fight against unjust systems that often push young people out of school and onto the path to prison. We also need to make sure we are doing all we can as individuals to show love and care and support to young people—especially Black and Hispanic—who already often feel pushed out and pushed away.
  • 09/11/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Power of "Prophetic" Grief

    Recently Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., pastor emeritus at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio and former co-pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, and Rev. Otis Moss, III, Senior Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, preached together at the Children’s Defense Fund’s Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. The terroristic murders of nine Black worshipers during Bible study at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church had broken everyone’s hearts, and father and son spoke on how all of us could use this moment to move forward together through “prophetic” grief.
  • 09/04/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Bishop Tutu's Dream

    Only when we face the truths of our past which continue to flare up in our present can we work toward true reconciliation and wholeness as a people and begin to close the huge gap between our dream of equality and our reality of massive racial and economic inequality. How long and what will it take to make America America?
  • 08/28/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Wise Lessons in Servant-Leadership from Howard University's President

    Today Howard University’s president Dr. Wayne Frederick is carrying on the tradition of inspiring college leadership set by Dr. Johnson, by our beloved Morehouse College president Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many civil rights activists in my generation, and by Dr. Howard Thurman and other great visionaries who graced Howard’s campus and school of religion and set a high example of excellence, integrity, commitment to service, love, and hopefulness for a new generation.
  • 08/21/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    It’s Hard to Be What You Can’t See

    When we think about what it is to be ‘connected,’ we think about memory. We think about history. We think about storytelling. All of these words that we hear—‘literacy,’ ‘inclusion,’ ‘diversity’—those are all words for connection . . . When I say to people ‘why do we need to have diverse books?’ it’s not because necessarily everybody needs to see themselves reflected in every book, but because we need that sense of connection. We need to live in a global sense.
  • 08/14/15

    Child Watch® Column: "The Unthinkable Lives of So Many Black Boys: Where Are the Caring Adults?!"

    What’s on the minds of many high school students these days—the start of a new school year, getting a driver’s license, worrying whether they’ll make the team, perhaps daydreaming about college and sweating over SAT exams? But that’s not what three Black male high school students told a Children’s Defense Fund audience this summer they’re thinking and worrying about.
  • 08/07/15

    Child Watch® Column: "Helping Black Boys Survive: What a Difference a Smile Makes"

    “If I tell you a smile could save a life, would you believe me? A smile can save a life. There was a gentleman, a young gentleman … named Kevin. Kevin was one of those children who did well in school and had great grades. People liked Kevin. Kevin was a handsome young man. But Kevin was a miserable young man. Kevin suffered from depression. Kevin decided that he was going to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and jump. … Kevin said, ‘If there’s one person who would smile at me or ask me if I was okay, I would not jump.’ Kevin jumped.”
  • 07/31/15

    Child Watch® Column: "Hanging on to Hope to Keep Black Men and Boys Alive"

    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.
  • 07/24/15

    Child Watch® Column: “Ten Rules to Help Black Boys Survive”

    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.
  • 07/17/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive: Channeling the Rage

    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.”
  • 07/10/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Redlined for Failure and the Prison Pipeline

    Ndume Olatushani is an artist, organizer, and a passionate advocate for justice who works with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Nashville organizing team. He helps us fight to keep children and people of color, especially Black boys, out of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ and mass incarceration system which will trap 1 in 3 Black boys born in 2001 sometime during their lifetime.
  • 07/02/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    America — What Do We After Do Charleston?

    I am a native South Carolinian. Charleston is my maternal ancestral home. My great grandmother was born during slavery. My great grandfather I have been told was a plantation overseer. Never have I been more proud and more ashamed of my dueling ancestral heritages than in the aftermath of the terroristic murders of nine Black Christians engaged in Bible study at Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a young White man infected by what Dr. King called, after President Kennedy’s assassination, “a morally inclement climate.”
  • 06/19/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Growing Seeds for a Multicultural, Multiracial Teaching Force for our Rainbow Children

    This is the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program’s twentieth anniversary. Since the program began more than 135,000 children across the country have had an enriching CDF Freedom Schools summer or after-school experience and more than 15,000 college students and recent graduates have been trained to teach the integrated reading curriculum whose books reflect the lives of the K-12 children and youths, and give them hope.
  • 06/05/15

    Child Watch® Column:
    Charity Is Not a Substitute for Justice

    In his speech the night before his murder Dr King repeated the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan who stopped and helped the desperate traveler who had been beaten, robbed, and left half dead as he journeyed along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
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