"Protect Children, Not Guns!"
On July 17, CDF Freedom Schools® scholars across the country participated in a National Day of Social Action to demand action on gun violence prevention. Scholars in kindergarten through 12th grade marched to a place of power in their communities with homemade signs and chants to call on lawmakers to protect children, not guns. More than 1,000 scholars marched to the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul; scholars exercised their power through protest in Waco, TX; and in Washington, DC, where escalating gun violence has been top of mind for many, hundreds of students rallied at the U.S. Capitol. One CDF Freedom School even produced their own music video to make their voices heard.
3,410 children or teens were killed with guns in 2017—enough to fill 71 school buses. Our scholars know that one life lost to gun violence is too many, and it's past time to act.
CDF Freedom Schools participate in a National Day of Social Action. Photo credit: David Samuel Photography.
Coming Home to the CDF Proctor Institute
July also brought the 25th Annual Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. Our focus for the week was "pursuing justice for all God's children," and participants had the chance to join conversations about stopping the mass criminalization of children of color, deconstructing racism, and ending child poverty, among other topics.
Participants and prophetic leadership at the 25th Annual Proctor Institute
During a panel on ending cruelty to immigrant children and families, CDF Beat the Odds® honoree Diana Contreras, who migrated to the US at 16 to escape the violence in her native El Salvador, spoke to the prejudice and fear she has faced since moving to this country: "I am an immigrant, but I am not a criminal, and I am not a threat.”
Rev. John M. Fife, Aramis Mendez, Diana Contreras, and CDF-Texas' Cheasty Anderson (L-R)
Threats to Children at the Border and Across the Country
We have been speaking up against the inhumane treatment of immigrant children and families seeking refuge in America, while also making sure we don't lose sight of persistent attacks on children in other areas of their lives. Find additional views and analysis from our policy team on our "In Defense of Children" blog.
Child Watch Roundup
In her Fourth of July Child Watch column, Marian Wright Edelman drew on the wise words of poets and friends alike to urge us to "change course, heal, and make America what it professes to be." Read the full ode to "a country we still have to create" here.
Catch up on the rest of Marian Wright Edelman’s recent Child Watch columns:
Look for a new Child Watch column every Friday afternoon.
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