Who Says Summer's Slow? | July 2015

Building the Children's Movement

“Last week I spent five days at Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, as a participant in the 2015 Samuel Dewitt Proctor Child Advocacy Institute, which is sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. The Institute brings together social justice activists and child advocates from across the country along with some of the finest preachers in the land.” –  Catherine Meeks, Opinion column, The Telegraph

More than 500 child advocates, including Catherine Meeks, came from 28 states and the District of Columbia to join our Beloved Community at CDF Haley Farm July 20-24. The inspirational week was full of moving testimony focused on the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® crisis which sits at the intersection of poverty and race. Our minds and hearts were filled with new connections, information and ideas from preachers and teachers who are making a difference to end child poverty and dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline crisis in their communities. We are grateful for the leadership of so many—the committed group from the Moral Mondays Movement from North Carolina, the Campaign for Change grassroots activists from Pennsylvania, the Fearless Dialogues grassroots leaders, and all the great preachers and teachers including CDF board member, Bryan Stevenson.

The urgency for change kept our Proctor Action Center very busy. We are grateful to participants, and child advocates like you, who spoke up for our nation’s most vulnerable children and sent more than 4,000 emails to Congress as part of our End Child Poverty campaign. We will update you on progress.

We hope you will make plans now to join us next summer for the Proctor Institute so you and others can make more of a difference for children in your community who are the future of our country. Here are three videos from this year: An extraordinary short sermon from Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III on racial profiling and the urgent need to keep our Black and Latino boys alive, the critically important two-minute video Rev. Dr. Moss III shared on 10 Rules for Survival, and a special video message from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s leading advocates for the poor.


Rev. Dr. Moss, Jr. & Rev. Dr. Moss, III
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10 Rules for Survival
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu
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CDF Freedom Schools® Rock

CDF Freedom Schools partners are serving more than 12,000 children in 28 states and the District of Columbia this summer and the children have been making a difference in themselves and their communities!

Here’s a tiny sampling of articles written about them, we couldn’t say it better.

Reading Gains, Losses
Editorial Board
, The Houston Chronicle (6/30/15)
The average summer learning loss for American students in math and reading amounts to one month per year, according to a national study. Unfortunately, the problem disproportionately affects lower-income students. Summer-learning shortfalls can cascade and ultimately affect a child's ability to earn a high school diploma and continue on to college. It's critical to our region that area nonprofits like HYPE Freedom School and Breakthrough Houston, which provide intensive summer programs, receive more support from funders and volunteers to build capacity. (read more)

Some 50 Years Later, Freedom Schools Cultivate Literacy and Cultural Roots
In Memphis, the state’s Achievement School District sponsors three Freedom Schools at Frayser Elementary, Georgian Hills Elementary and Westside Middle schools. Lozie Guy, a fifth-grade teacher, describes Freedom School as completely different than his work throughout the school year at Frayser Elementary. Freedom’s student-to-teacher ratio, generally 10-to-1, lets him get to know his students better and identify comprehension problems quicker. Ultimately, Freedom Schools are designed to equip a new generation of young people to be productive and give back to their own communities. (read more)

Marin Activists Seek Support in Campaign Against Child Poverty
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. Kathleen Tabor, director of the advocacy group Marin Kids, briefed parents during a meeting last week on an effort to get a quarter-cent sales tax initiative on the 2016 Marin ballot. The tax would raise $10 million a year to finance preschool and afterschool programs for children of low-income families as well as other programs. (read more)

First Freedom School in 51 Years Targets Literacy Skills for Students
The Neshoba Democrat
The first freedom school in the Neshoba County since 1964 opened last month to target students in first through third grades to improve literacy skills and instill a desire to read and learn. The Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner Freedom School was a promise made last summer by founder of the Children's Defense Fund and civil rights pioneer Marian Wright Edelman. Mayor James A. Young (Read Aloud guest) said the day had given him hope for the future of the city. "If you want to make Philadelphia great and our country great, it's up to you." (read more)

tarrell newsletter.jpg
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We are grateful to the many high-profile Read Aloud guests across the country who gave their time and inspiration to our children. One of them, a valued member of the CDF family, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at The Ohio State University among other appointments has already been a special Read Aloud guest at three nearby CDF Freedom Schools sites. Watch this powerful video about his own experience with racial profiling that he shared with 2,000 CDF Freedom Schools teachers-in-training at CDF Haley Farm last June. Take a moment to hear his important message: “How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive.”

Ending Child Poverty Now

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The faith community and the CDF Freedom Schools® children are doing their part to spread the word, are you? Please watch and share this powerful new video about child poverty. Did you know that if the nation invested two percent of the federal budget in policies and programs that work, we could cut child poverty now by 60 percent and 72 percent for Black children who are our poorest group? Help us lift 6.6 million children out of poverty—improving their odds for success today will strengthen America tomorrow. The future is now. Learn more in CDF’s report Ending Child Poverty Now and our new Ending Child Poverty Now brief.

Here’s what you can do today. Join the multi-faith congregations in 49 states and the District of Columbia by organizing a Children’s Sabbath Service this October. The 2015 National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths “How Long Must I Cry for Help? Bending the Arc Toward God’s Vision of Justice for Children,” will focus on real solutions to reduce child poverty in America now. You can download the planning manual free of charge. For more information visit our website.

Happy 50th Birthday Medicaid!

Today, we’re grateful for fifty years of Medicaid! It has been a lifeline for millions of poor and low-income children and their families. Over the years, CDF has worked relentlessly to expand Medicaid so all pregnant women and children have access to high-quality, comprehensive health and mental health coverage. Together, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have reduced the number of uninsured children in the United States to the lowest recorded level, ever. Let’s work together to support and expand Medicaid as it continues to age! See our new fact sheets on the benefits of Medicaid.

Congress Must Act This Fall to End Draconian Budget Caps and Sequestration

Congress approved a Federal Budget earlier this year which threatens millions of our children today, and our workforce tomorrow. Deep cuts in key programs would hurt poor and low-income children and families by slashing spending by $5 trillion over 10 years. 14.7 million children are poor in America. Poverty hurts children and creates opportunity gaps that can last a life time. If these budget cuts happen, millions more children would fall into poverty, or deeper into poverty. Congress would cut funding for WIC, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Head Start, the Title I Education Program for Disadvantaged Children and housing assistance for poor and low-income families and others. Urge your Senators and Representative, while home during the August recess, to #StopTheCuts. Let them know how the cuts will hurt children and families you know or services in your community. Send a Letter to the Editor of your local paper to let others know about threats to children. 

Save the Date

Save the date now for a wonderful celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the CDF Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program. This special occasion will be at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on November 5, 2015. We will highlight some of the remarkable alumni who have gone on to become doctors and lawyers, teachers and professors, engineers and Peace Corps volunteers and given back to their communities, as we put a spotlight on this year’s five Beat the Odds winners from the greater Washington, D.C. area. Come be inspired by their courageous stories of overcoming tremendous challenges to excel academically and give back to their communities. Join Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and present and former CDF Board Members including former Board Chair Donna Shalala for a night to remember. Mark your calendars today.

In the wake of the Charleston tragedy, Marian Wright Edelman’s Child Watch® Columns from this month highlight the real problems youth of color face every day and what we need to do to help our most vulnerable children survive.

"Ten Rules to Help Black Boys Survive"

"How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive: Channeling the Rage"

"Redlined for Failure and the Prison Pipeline"

"America - What Do We Do After Charleston?"

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

Please share this message with your networks. Encourage them to support our work or join our mailing list.


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