CDF Executive Listening Sessions

Dr. Starsky Wilson speaks to community members.

In the summer of 2022, Children’s Defense Fund embarked on a multi-state listening campaign led by CDF President and CEO Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson. Spanning seven cities across the United States, we joined in community with CDF Freedom Schools® staff, scholars, and parents to ask about the well-being and state of their children.

The village spoke, and CDF listened.

Through this initiative, known as the CDF Executive Listening Sessions, we redefined the role of expert to center the lived experiences of the children, youth, and caregivers we serve. We listened to concerns related to issues in each community and throughout the U.S. We asked parents and caregivers to share their perspectives on policies and priorities, advancing the hopes of their children.

Their voices inform our work, and help us better understand the challenges they face and the solutions they demand.

Responses to the question, "What does freedom look like to you?"


Health and Healing


Just and Caring Communities


Early Childhood Development


Family Economic Mobility


Civic Engagement

  1. Health and Healing​
    a)  Children’s Health​
    b)  Social-Emotional Wellness​
    c)  Environmental Justice​
  2. Just and Caring Communities​
    a)  Equality Before the Law ​
    b)  Safe Neighborhoods​
    c)  Fair Immigration Laws
  3. Early Childhood Development​
    a)  Maternal Health​
    b)  Universal Pre-K
    c)  Early Learning
  1. Family Economic Mobility​
    a)  Child Poverty​
    b)  Living Wages​
    c)  Education
    d)  Kids Doing Better than Parents​
  2. Civic Engagement​
    a)  Running for Office​
    b)  Voting
    c)  Discussing the Issues


Click a state to learn more.