A Momentous Month 4 Children | June 2015

Hate then Love

The unbearable hate murders of nine people at the historic Emmanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 ripped a hole in our hearts. The events that followed, beginning with the amazing grace of the families left behind who expressed forgiveness to the shooter just two days later, showed all of us that love, not hate is the path forward to truly make the United States of America a more perfect union. If you have not seen President Obama’s eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney on Friday, June 26, we urge you to do so now.
Here are excerpts from letters Reverend Pinckney’s daughters wrote for the funeral program:

To My Daddy:
When someone loves you they care
Even if they are not there
They motivate you two prosper and believe
In any of your dreams
They watch over you day and night …
I will always remember and love you.

- Eliana, age 11

Dear Daddy:
I know you were shot at the Church
And you went to heaven.
I love you so much!
And I know you love me …
You will be in my heart. I love you!
Love, your baby girl and grasshopper.

- Malana, age 6

Momentous Decisions for Children

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”
- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority in King v. Burwell

The month of June was full of momentous decisions for children and families. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have made a huge difference for millions of children and families in our nation; by affirming that Congress intended Affordable Care Act tax subsidies to be available for all regardless of where they live; by finding “disparate impact” a form of racial discrimination in enforcing the Fair Housing Act; and finally by affirming marriage equality when we know children thrive in loving families and in a country that values all lives equally.

Marian Wright Edelman Response

“Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed what we already knew to be true, Congress clearly intended to make tax credits in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) available to everyone no matter where they lived. Their decision is a huge relief to the millions of low-income and middle-income Americans, including hundreds of thousands of children, who would have lost health coverage secured under the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court had ruled otherwise in King v. Burwell. Let’s now put aside politics and work together to ensure the ACA truly works for all. Progress already has been made, with the lowest level of uninsured adults and children on record. Let’s continue until every child has a healthy start with access to quality, affordable health care.”

Marriage Equality

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion on marriage equality cited the special impact on children. He wrote, “Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

We found Justice Anthony Kennedy’s final words about marriage and equality beautiful and deeply moving. If you have not had a chance to read them, click here.

California Expands Health Coverage

California’s legislators and Governor Jerry Brown took the monumental step of expanding health coverage to all low-income children regardless of immigration status. As a result, all of California’s children will soon have access to the health coverage they need to survive and thrive, including170,000 undocumented immigrant children in California next May. This will improve their access to preventive care, boost school performance and set them on a healthy path to reach their potential. CDF-California has been advocating relentlessly for coverage for all children for more than a decade, and we are thrilled that California now joins Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, and the District of Columbia in providing health coverage to undocumented children, bringing us one step closer to our goal of quality, affordable health coverage for all children in America.

Seeking Justice in Cleveland

Days before what would have been Tamir Rice’s 13th birthday, Cleveland Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine found probable cause to charge Officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, reckless homicide and dereliction of duty, and Officer Frank Garmback with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty in last year’s fatal shooting of the 12-year-old. His decision was in response to a petition filed under an obscure Ohio law by community leaders, activists, and Tamir Rice’s teenage sister. One of the petitioners was CDF-Ohio’s Joe Worthy, National Coordinator of Youth Leadership Development, who lives in Cleveland. He has worked relentlessly with others for justice for Tamir and to build awareness of the systemic discrimination against Black men and boys by Cleveland’s police department. To date, a grand jury has been convened ... but the prosecutor has still not filed charges against the officers.

Calling the Faith Community

How long will prejudice blind the visions of men?” I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth pressed to earth will rise again. How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. ….How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fifty years ago at the end of the march from Selma to Montgomery


If you have never attended the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry, there is no more urgent time to come than this year. In the wake of the massacre at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. Church, and the anguish of Ferguson, Cleveland, New York and Baltimore we’ve heard the collective question, “How long will racial prejudice blind our vision, how long until we affirm and act like precious Black lives matter?” Fifty years after President Johnson’s War on Poverty, some of us are asking “How long will it take?" How long will it take until we end the child poverty that traps one in five children — one in two Black babies and one in three Latino babies? Now is the time to help bend the arc toward God’s vision of justice for children, and that is the theme at the Proctor Institute this year. Come to CDF Haley Farm July 20 – 24 to join the Beloved Community, to hear great preaching and teaching, to sharpen your skills in interactive workshops, to learn how we can end child poverty in this rich nation and what your faith community can do. Register now.

Major Milestone for CDF Freedom Schools® Program


As this momentous month began, 2,000 servant leaders joined us for CDF Freedom Schools national training at CDF Haley Farm to learn how to deliver the integrated reading curriculum. This summer they are serving thousands of children in more than 100 cities in more than half the states in our nation. An extraordinary group of speakers came to inspire them and affirm the powerful, important work of the CDF Freedom Schools program. Speakers included legendary Civil Rights leaders C.T. Vivian and Bryan Stevenson; La June Montgomery Tabron, president of the Kellogg Foundation; the Obama Administration’s point person on Black male educational achievement, David Johns; thought leaders and university professors Terrell Strayhorn, Sean Joe, and Hassan Jeffries; and the creator of Moral Mondays, the Rev. William Barber II. We celebrated our 20th anniversary at the opening night plenary session by highlighting four former Ella Baker Trainers, dedicated Servant Leader Interns selected to train those who follow in their footsteps. Watch and be inspired by their stories and the CDF Freedom Schools movement that has served more than 135,000 students in grades K-12 and trained more than 15,000 college students to teach and mentor them. Please support our work.  

College Choices

Thanks to your support, the Children’s Defense Fund has offered Beat the Odds® college scholarships and support for 25 years and helped change the outcomes for more than 800 outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence and given back to their communities. Now that our most recent awardees have made their final college decisions, we’re excited to share their news with you! Congratulations to them all.

Read more about our work to transform the juvenile justice system and ensure our most vulnerable children do not fall behind their peers this summer in Marian Wright Edelman’s Child Watch® Columns from this month.

"Growing Seeds for a Multicultural, Multiracial Teaching Force for our Rainbow Children"

"Charity is Not a Substitute for Justice"

"End All Youth Detention and Torture at Riker's Island Now"

Thank you for your continued dedication to CDF's Leave No Child Behind® mission.

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