Last month, community leaders, elected officials, filmmakers, athletes, entrepreneurs, and professionals from all walks of life took time out of their busy days to share book recommendations and life lessons with the over 2,000 CDF Freedom Schools scholars in California and Seattle.
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It Takes a Village ...
Message from Our Executive Director
Dear friends,

Thanks to your support, we successfully launched 34 CDF Freedom Schools in cities all across California and in Seattle, Washington and served over 2,000 young people. The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school reading enrichment for children while focusing on literacy and curbing summer learning loss. It is a critical component of our efforts to close the achievement gap that persists across California.

2015 has been an incredibly exciting and productive year – and this past month has been no exception. We persuaded the members of the California State Senate to curtail the use of solitary confinement in juvenile justice facilities by passing SB 124 (Leno); we made sure our Beat the Odds recipients were accepted into some of the best colleges in the country; and, just last month we played a critical part in ensuring that Health for All children became a reality.

However, despite these huge gains, we still have a long way to go. The California State Assembly will soon consider whether to curtail the use of solitary confinement and send the bill to Governor Jerry Brown. Despite the fact that the United Nations considers solitary confinement of young people torture we are fighting to ensure that the State Assembly passes this important bill. I urge you to call your state representative and express support for SB 124 today!


Alex M. Johnson
Executive Director
Children's Defense Fund - California

top story

It takes a village ...
Last month, community leaders, elected officials, filmmakers, athletes, entrepreneurs, and professionals from all walks of life took time out of their busy days to share book recommendations and life lessons with the over 2,000 CDF Freedom Schools scholars in California and Seattle. Check out the highlights below and visit us online to learn more about this incredible program.
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Aja Naomi King
Actor Aja Naomi King encourages scholars to follow their dreams at Read Lead CDF Freedom Schools.
mike feuer

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer reads his favorite book with thousands of CDF Freedom Schools scholars.

Alex Johnson
CDF-CA Executive Director Alex Johnson making some new friends at Stephen S. Wise CDF Freedom Schools.
Holly Mitchell
State Senator Holly Mitchell having fun with scholars from Read Lead CDF Freedom Schools.
Angelica Salazar
CDF-CA Senior Policy Associate Angelica Salazar with scholars from Success in Challenges CDF Freedom Schools in Long Beach.
Cheryl Fair
KABC-TV President and veteran broadcaster Cheryl Fair visits scholars at Community Coalition CDF Freedom Schools.
Herb Wesson, Jr.
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Jr reading with Read Lead CDF Freedom Schools scholars.
Aloe & Maya
Entertainers Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter share their love of art and activism with scholars at Community Coalition CDF Freedom Schools.
Pedro Gomez
Seattle Mayoral staffer Pedro Gomez reminds scholars from Urban Impact CDF Freedom Schools that their voice matters.

featured updates


Proctor institute
This past month, Alex Johnson moderated a moving panel on ending child poverty during the open plenary session at the 2015 Samuel Dewitt Proctor Child Advocacy Institute.
raising the bar
On July 22nd, our Executive Director Alex Johnson charged the attendees at National Bar Association’s 90th Annual Convention and Exhibits to stand up for the rights of children and youth being left behind in our nation’s public school system.
National Day of Social Action
Parents, children,and college students from our CDF Freedom Schools in California organized a series of events to bring attention to the problem of child poverty in their communities.
Meet the New Class
We're excited to introduce to the Beat the Odds class of 2016: Cornesha Hunter, Jaegeun “David” Cho, Stephanie Gamino, David Sanchez, Shawn’yae Miles, Diane Leal, Vincent Zamarripa, and NiTasha Denson!
Moving the Needle
Members of our statewide policy team met with policy makers in Sacramento to urge them to end to solitary confinement, repeal the Maximum Family Grant Rule for CalWorks, and increase Medi-Cal provider rates.
Please join us for an engaging Twitter Chat next Tuesday, August 25th to learn about the problems with and solutions to juvenile solitary confinement.
More info...

in the news

Is Violence the New Normal? Why We Must End Solitary Confinement for Youth
July 17th, 2015

This nation stands at a crossroads where the moral failure of our current system of justice is no longer possible to ignore. Kalief Browder. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Reynisha McBride. Ezell Ford. Walter Scott. Ricardo Diaz Zeferino. Men and women. Each unarmed, yet killed by police officers who were out on patrol or while they were confined in a jail cell ...

Marin activists seek support in campaign against child poverty
July 26th, 2015

Children participating in the Hannah Project’s “Freedom School” in Marin City this summer are being taught that poverty is not a fact of life that must be grudgingly accepted, but an injustice that must be corrected.

Freedom School Provides New Hope for Probationary Youth in Alameda County
July 31st, 2015

When Monica Vaughan said, “Good morning,” the group of 32 young men seated in the sun-drenched auditorium jumped to their feet. "Good morning — G-O-O-D M-O-R-N-I-N-G!" they chanted, clapping their hands and stomping their feet.

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