Child Health

2022 State of the Union Response from Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Happy birthday, Joshua!

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Biden welcomed and told the story of Joshua Davis, a 13-year-old from Virginia who lives with type 1 diabetes. The teen, celebrating his birthday with the entire nation, has been advocating for school safety and health since he was four years old. By turning the camera and conversation to the cost of care to keep him healthy, the president made the most significant symbolic gesture of the evening. He centered America’s children in the public policy debate. Now, we have to keep them there.

The Children’s Defense Fund continues to fight for key initiatives in the president’s framework to build a better America and his “unity vision for the nation.” I am encouraged to hear that he has not forgotten about the daily struggles and burdens endured by all families, and disproportionately by low-income Black and brown children and youth. In times of extreme challenge like these, we must remember that young advocates like Joshua, and his 74 million young classmates, will live with the impact of our policy decisions.

In his first State of the Union address, President Biden renewed his commitment to reduce the cost of expenses like child care, housing, and health care to relieve some of the crushing financial burden families bear each day. We stand ready to work alongside the president and leaders in Congress to fulfill the promise of the State of the Union address to extend the monthly Child Tax Credit, address the child mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, and reform a health care system that keeps care from those who need it most. We are also clear that President Biden’s call to preserve democracy by passing voting rights reform bills is necessary to fulfill our vision of a nation in which all children thrive. We hope—and I pray—this vision is a common one, shared by every member of Congress.