Marian Wright Edleman‘s name is synonymous with advocacy and civil rights. She is a true living legend not just in the black community, but in the world of education advocacy. She cares deeply about our nation’s most vulnerable and valuable resource: Our children.
theGrio caught up with Edelman for a one on one interview about the state of education and black America during a recent Public Policy Town Hall aimed at improving the quality of life of all citizens. The forum was moderated by veteran political strategist Donna Brazile sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., at Howard University’s Blackburn Center.
Edelman, a Spelman College grad, who was the first black woman admitted to the Bar in the State of Mississippi is the Chairman and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund started the organization in 1973. Characteristic of her trailblazing path; she was on fire during the panel despite being in her 70s, and continually kept asking the crowd of over 200 collegiate women and public attendees to “cause a ruckus, protest, and stir the pot” in order to call our political leadership in America to action on behalf of a black community in economic and family distress.
The poverty rate in America is at a 25 year high, with 1 in 4 black families living in poverty. Of course those who suffer the most disproportionately are children of color. How is this bad economic climate hurting our kids, their ability to learn in school?
Marian Wright Edelman: It has impacted children of color most of all, and the younger they are poorer they are over 1 in 3 black children is poor today. Many live in extreme poverty, they are sliding backward, and young black families are being assaulted in this economy. We are in dangerous downward trend, our children and grandchildren are not going to better than we did if we do not wake up and act now to turn things around.
When Dr. King died in 1968 calling for poor people’s campaign in 1968, there were 11 million poor children in US of all colors, now there are almost 16 million poor children in America. This is the poorest children have been in many decades. Of course all of this has a devastating impact upon our children’s readiness and wellness to start school and perform well in school. I hope you will follow are children are off the board website as we mount this new anti-child poverty campaign.
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