Check out our newly designed newsletter!
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New Look, Same Mission
Dear Friend,

Welcome to our new e-newsletter! This is more than just a redesign. From interactive graphics, responsive layout, and action items, we’ve built a dynamic new communications tool that will provide you with a richer and more comprehensive overview of the work we do for children everyday - and, most importantly, give you more opportunities to get involved.

We hope like the new look as much as we do. We're still in beta, so things may change slightly over the course of the next few months. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. If you like a particular element or have an idea on how we can improve, let us know right here.


Alex M. Johnson
Executive Director
Children's Defense Fund - California
20 Years of Freedom
On May 27th, over 2,000 college students, teachers, and probation gathered at CDF Haley Farm and the Knoxville Convention Center in Tennessee to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our CDF Freedom Schools Ella Baker Child Policy Institute. Proudly drawing on the traditions of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, the intense, week-long training provides new and returning Servant Leader Interns and Site Coordinators with everything they need to run a successful CDF Freedom Schools site back in their community. Participants engaged in a wide array of workshops and trainings around the Integrated Reading Curriculum, a proven educational model that exposes children to books, images, ideas, and activities relevant to who they are. In the evening, the young leaders had the opportunity to hear rousing speeches from some of the most influential change-makers of our time - including Marian Wright Edelman, Alex Johnson, Bryan Stevenson, David Johns, Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, Janine Bacquie, and Terrell Strayhorn. By the end of the week, we were all ready to return to our communities and build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation, and world today.
Learn more
Building Community through Hip Hop With Talib Kweli
On May 9th, hundreds of Los Angelenos commandeered an entire block on Union Pacific Avenue in Los Angeles for Block Party LA , a local music festival and fundraiser for our Beat the Odds® Scholarship program. The event, organized by Ashley Glaspie Marketing, combined the excitement and inspiration of a traditional street party with it’s original roots in the community. Some of the most prominent music artists of our time showed their support for the event - including Talib Kweli, Ab-Soul, Terrace Martin, Preston Harris, NameBrand, Curtiss King, Jake&Papa, among others. Attendees also had access to Health and Wellness booths, art installations, gourmet food trucks, and much more. Following the show, Talib himself invited a group of young people to have an intimate conversation about the intersection of race, violence, and poverty in Los Angeles and the impact it has on their communities.
Learn more
Youth Demand #Health4All in California
On April 13th, Beat the Odds honorees Elizabeth Lopez and Irene Ramos joined advocates from all over California on the steps of the Capitol to demand health coverage for the more than 170,000 children in the state who are locked out of health care because of their immigration status. The rally was part of a statewide #Health4All campaign to ensure that all Californians have access to the affordable, quality health coverage they need to thrive. Read Elizabeth and Irene’s reflections on the rally and then take action to urge the lawmakers to craft a budget that expands health coverage to all our children.
Learn more
Fighting Violence with Story
On April 30th, the Long Beach contingent of the Building Healthy Communities Campaign sponsored a special three day showing of the internationally celebrated play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo to demonstrate how the power of story can heal communities affected by poverty, immigration, and violence. Written by Oakland based Latino Men and Boys Program Director Paul S. Flores, PLACAS follows Fausto Carbajal, a Salvadoran immigrant and former MS–13 gang member as he struggles to reunite his family while haunted by the linkages of his past life. After the performance, the audience was invited to join healing circles and workshops to share their personal stories and discuss pathways out of violence.
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Insuring Our Future
On April 23rd, superintendents and school administrators from seven school districts in California and Texas attended our annual Community of Practice Institute. Held at Alex Haley Farm in Tennessee, the event was a part of our partnership with the School Superintendents Association to make sure that all children have access to free and affordable healthcare. District team leaders the chance to collaborate in their efforts to increase their awareness of promising practices; identify strategies for outreach, enrollment and tracking; finalize their district action plans; and strengthen their commitment to achieving the outreach and enrollment goals they set.
Learn more
Taking the Time to Talk
On April 13, our Executive Director Alex Johnson was invited to serve as a panelist at the launch of Take. Time. Talk., Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP)’s new vocabulary building tool to help parents increase the number of words their children hear each day. Speaking before an audience of experts, leaders, and parents, Alex stressed the importance of talking as it relates to the development of the critical thinking and reasoning skills that all children need to succeed in school, college and beyond.
Learn more
Protect Children
Not Poverty
Take action
This week, the Governor and the Legislature will finalize the 2015-16 state budget. Governor Brown recently released his May Revise budget proposal, which included $380 million for the state’s first-ever Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reduce poverty, but failed to restore deep cuts made to the social safety net during the recession. Help us make sure that the needs of children are a top budget priority in California. Read Alex Johnson’s recent op-ed on the budget and then, using the icons below, tell the Governor and legislative leaders that we need a bold, comprehensive plan to end child poverty.
Email Governor Brown and urge him to put children first in the budget.
Encourage your Twitter followers to support a child-focused budget.
Make the case for children to the Governor over the phone.
California Needs a State Budget that Protects Children from Poverty.
Read Now
Los Angeles County Juvenile Probation Outcomes Study
Read Now
Timothy Walker: Beating the Odds in South LA
Watch Now
2015 Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute
Register Now
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Children's Defense Fund - California
634 S. Spring St, Suite 500C Los Angeles, CA 90014 | (213) 355-8787
405 14th St, Suite 1012, Oakland, CA 94612 | (510) 663-3224
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