Edelman Urges Jackson State Audience to Support Children's Issues PDF Print E-mail
By Tiffany Edmundson -- Black College Wire   

Children's activist Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund, told a Jackson, Miss., audience she wrote her most recent book as "a cry for us to see the cradle-to-prison pipeline."

Children's Defense Fund
Marian Wright Edelman
Edelman was at Jackson State University's  Kids Kollege 25th Anniversary and to attend a book signing for "The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course For The Next Generation."
Edelman said the book consists of a series of 11 letters "to parents, young people, my grandchildren, neighbors, citizens, religious and political leaders and members of the community." Edelman added, "I also wanted to write a letter to Dr. King because the Children’s Defense Fund is the grandchild of the Poor People’s Campaign. I wanted to report on how well we had done and not done.”
The significance for her presence at Kids Kollege dates back to the 1960’s when she became nationally known for advocating for Head Start programs in the Mississippi and other states.

After graduating from Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman became the first African American woman to be admitted into the Mississippi Bar. She also was the director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in Jackson. In 1973, Edelman founded the Children's Defense Fund, which sought to diminish child poverty, end child abuse and neglect, ensure children with adequate healthcare and a quality education.

“If we don’t take care of our children, we don’t have a future. The book is a cry for us to see the cradle-to-prison pipeline, to break it up, to invest in all of our children, to stop the dropout rates and drop the criminalization of children at younger ages. So it is a plea for all of us to come together with all hands on deck to reclaim our children, reweave our family fabric and reweave our community fabric,” Edelman said.

Throughout her speech, she stressed the importance of teaching the younger generations our history because we have a rich legacy of struggle that could repeat itself.  The year 2008  commemorates the 35th anniversary for the CDF and the 40th anniversary for Dr. Martin Luther Kings Poor People’s Campaign, for which Edelman served as a counsel and Congressional liaison .

Her appearance was sponsored by the Jackson, Mississippi Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tiffany Edmundson is a mass communications student at Jackson State University.

Posted Oct. 16, 2008
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