Child Watch® Columns

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  • 08/29/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America"

    Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a brilliant Black Ohio State University professor, recently opened the Educational Testing Service and Children’s Defense Fund co-sponsored symposium on Advancing Success for Black Men in College by sharing a question his 14-year-old son asked him: why did he get in trouble for speaking out of turn when he jumped in to answer his teacher’s question, but when his White friend did the same thing she was praised for being excited about learning?
  • 08/22/14

    Child Watch® Column: “'Who’s Looking for Me?': God’s and America’s Invisible Children"

    Not long ago Reverend Romal Tune was the child in “Who’s Looking for Me,” his spoken word piece shared below—the hungry boy begging strangers for money and watching them cross the street to avoid him; the teenager planning his funeral with his then 15-year-old cousin because “dying meant that we would finally be noticed; people would finally see us and treat us like we mattered.
  • 08/15/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Strong Programs, Strong Mentors, and Strong Mindsets”

    We know the commonly repeated claim that there are more Black men in prison than in college isn’t true—but in 2011 Black men accounted for fewer than 6 percent of undergraduate students and 4 percent of graduate students, though they made up 8.7 percent of 18-29 year olds.
  • 08/08/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Children in the Desert”

    For years the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York, home to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, was the poorest section of the poorest Congressional district in the United States. I recently had another wonderful visit at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer program hosted at St. Ann’s, whose incomparable rector is the Reverend Martha Overall—known to everyone as Mother Martha.
  • 08/01/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Kiwis in the Bronx”

    For years the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York, home to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, was the poorest section of the poorest Congressional district in the United States. I recently had another wonderful visit at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer program hosted at St. Ann’s, whose incomparable rector is the Reverend Martha Overall—known to everyone as Mother Martha.
  • 07/25/14

    Child Watch® Column: “A Mississippi Freedom Summer Pilgrimage: An Atrocity We Must Never Forget”

    We both took this journey on June 25 with a group of about 400 young people, including young women participating in the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s summer leadership institute for young Black women from rural Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, part of CDF’s Southern Rural Black Women’s Institute for Economic and Social Justice.
  • 07/18/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Andrew Young’s Choice”

    “None of us had any real education in social change. I was a biology major and a preacher. And yet we found ourselves in positions where we had to change the world . . . and what you will find is that it is easy if you listen to that still, small voice within. That’s where you hear God.”
  • 07/11/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Overcoming Evil”

    Nelba Márquez-Greene is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has spent her life helping others. In December 2012 she was the coordinator of a youth and adolescent outpatient psychiatric clinic and a university instructor supervising six clinical interns. But nothing in her professional training could have prepared her for what she, her family, and community would experience after her beautiful six-year-old daughter Ana Grace and twenty-five other children and teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • 07/03/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Breaking the Code of Silence”

    “I found my voice long before I became a writer in community organizing. That’s where I found my voice, where I was able to take all that pain and transform it into something useful in the world, and I never looked back.” Michael Patrick MacDonald is a storyteller.
  • 06/27/14

    Child Watch® Column: “We, the People”

    Those of us in Mississippi for the historic 1964 Freedom Summer anniversary know very well none of it could have unfolded in the way it did without the quiet and courageous leadership of Robert Moses and David Dennis.
  • 06/20/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Inspiring Lessons from Seattle Pacific University”

    Just days before graduation a young man with a history of mental illness entered a science and engineering building on the university’s campus armed with a shotgun and more than 50 rounds of ammunition and began firing.
  • 06/13/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Return of the Weasels”

    This column is not about the recent story making headlines in New York City on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to lift a ban on pet ferrets. But it is about weasels.
  • 06/06/14

    Child Watch® Column: “John Lewis to Young Leaders: Get In 'Necessary Trouble'”

    ot every speaker tells a crowd of young leaders that their job is to get into trouble. But that’s part of the message iconic civil rights warrior and now Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) conveyed at this year’s week-long Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools®’ National Training that began June 1st for nearly 2,000 college age Freedom School servant leaders and site coordinators. They will mentor, teach, and lead Freedom School programs for over 12,500 pre-K through 12th grade students across the country this summer in faith congregations, public schools, college campuses, juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, and a range of other settings where the neediest children live.
  • 05/30/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Dr. Vincent Harding’s Call to Make America America”

    When my brother friend Dr. Vincent Harding passed away May 19 at age 82, we lost a beloved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary who never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed our nation and world could become.
  • 05/23/14

    Child Watch® Column: “From Hardship to Hope”

    Foster care is intended to be a temporary solution during one of the darkest times of a child’s life, but the average length of stay is nearly two years, and every year more than 23,000 youths “age out” of foster care at age 18 or older without being connected to a forever family.
  • 05/16/14

    Child Watch® Column: “From Freedom Summer to Freedom Schools”

    As a brand new law school graduate in 1963 I was fortunate enough to receive one of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)’s first two fellowships to help young attorneys seeking to practice in the South. After a year of intensive preparation at LDF’s New York City headquarters under the tutelage of an extraordinarily gifted and committed band of attorneys, I opened a law office in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • 05/09/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Opportunity Gap”

    In the spring of 1954, like so many Black families, mine waited anxiously for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. My father and I talked about it and what it would mean for my future and the future of millions of other Black children who were attending segregated but unequal Black schools.
  • 05/02/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Budget Is Not Fair, Mr. Chair”

    On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, testified before the House Budget Committee on the impact of the War on Poverty on children and how our nation can finish the job started by President Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago.
  • 04/25/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Seed Experiment”

    A perennial favorite science project from preschool on up is the “seed experiment”: A child plants identical seeds in two pots. She places the first pot inside a dark cupboard and leaves it there, and she puts the second one in a sunny spot and waters it every day. She waits to see what will happen. It’s very easy for even the youngest children to figure out that their seedlings need the basics—sunlight and water—if they are going to survive and thrive. The same is true for children.
  • 04/18/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Making Strides for Preschool”

    We know high-quality early childhood development and learning interventions can buffer the negative effects of poverty and provide a foundation for future success with lifelong benefits, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable children. Studies have shown children enrolled in high-quality early childhood programs are more likely to graduate from high school, hold a job, and make more money and are less likely to commit a crime than their peers who do not participate.
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