Tell Your Candidates That Nine Million Children Need A "Bailout"
At a time when the federal government is considering spending billions bailing out big business, but refuses to give a helping hand to struggling families, it's clear that we need to reassess our priorities as a nation. Nearly nine million children in America do not have health coverage and millions more are underinsured. The elections in November provide an extraordinary opportunity to bring attention to this critical issue. We must seize this occasion to ensure that every candidate running for a seat in the U.S. Congress understands that providing coverage for all children is something the American people want, that our children and nation can't wait, and that each candidate's commitment to health coverage for all children is a condition of your vote.
Watch Karim's "call to action" video asking child advocates to step up, take action and ask Congressional candidates for a health coverage “bailout” for the nearly nine million uninsured children in America. Then, take action and send an email to your candidates. It just takes a few minutes and we make it easy for you!
Make Your Voice Heard - Post a Video!
What better way to get your message across to your elected officials then by joining Karim in recording a short video? Let your elected officials know why all children need comprehensive health coverage—participate today in CDF's "Your Truth Aloud! Speak Out NOW for Children" video project. Your voices and stories are powerful and important, and when you join our video project, CDF will ensure that lawmakers and their staff see them. Check out videos from other child advocates on CDF’s Your Tube channel and then learn more and record your video today!
At the Next Presidential Debate… You Ask the Question!
The Commission on Presidential Debates has partnered with MySpace to create a new website, MyDebates, to enhance the educational value of the televised debates and to engage viewers throughout the general election period. In addition to tracking the positions of the Presidential candidates on issues of interest to you by taking a short quiz, and watching the debates live or clips afterwards, you can also submit questions for possible inclusion in the October 7 Town Hall Presidential Debate! Submit a question today to ensure that the Presidential candidates address the critical issue of the nearly nine million uninsured children in the U.S. (We've provided a sample question below to help you out.) The deadline for submissions is October 2, so don't delay!
"With health coverage for everyone in America being an important issue during this election year, do you believe it is time to cover all of the nine million uninsured children rather than simply making incremental improvements to current programs that will leave millions of children uninsured?"
CDF President Marian Wright Edelman Releases New Book
CDF President Marian Wright Edelman has released her new book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, a call to action for all Americans to address the urgent needs of the country's youth. The book is a series of letters to a variety of audiences—educators, faith leaders, youth, mothers, elected officials and concerned citizens nationwide that reflect on the social and economic progress as well as the setbacks since Dr. King's death 40 years ago. Mrs. Edelman challenges each audience to step up and take action at this pivotal moment to ensure a level playing field for the next generation.
Mrs. Edelman has also been interviewed recently on The Brian Lehrer Show and Democracy NOW!
Join PINK Magazine and Mrs. Edelman on October 10 for PINK's 4th annual conference series at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Enjoy an inspiring two-hour lunch with Mrs. Edelman and other influential women.
Join Emory University's Chandler School of Theology for "Re-envisioning Leadership for a Hope-filled Future" where Mrs. Edelman will give the keynote address on October 12. At this three-day event, the Chandler School of Theology will gather scholars, activists, ministers, educators, and citizens of all ages to re-imagine leadership in our current context. Learn more and register for this conference.
You can also join Mrs. Edelman the following day, October 13, at the Georgia State University's 20th Annual Benjamin E. Mays Lecture. The series of lectures was established to encourage the discussion of issues facing urban educational leaders, to honor the memory of Mays, an Atlanta educator, and to promote May's philosophy of excellence in the education of those typically least served by society.
Join Mrs. Edelman and CDF-Southern Regional Office for a luncheon and book signing on October 15, 12:30-2:30 p.m., at Jackson State University's New Student Union. Call (601) 321-1966 for more information.
Join Us As We Celebrate Our 35th Anniversary
On the evening of October 6, 2008, the Children's Defense Fund will bring together friends from across the country and from all walks of life to acknowledge our accomplishments and rededicate our efforts to ensure a brighter future for all children in America. The 35th Anniversary Gala will be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and will include appearances by Jessye Norman, Malaak Compton-Rock, Holly Robinson Peete, Sidney Poitier, Jurnee Smollett, George Stephanopoulos, Susan L. Taylor, and Ali Wentworth. There will be a 90-minute show featuring performances by Broadway Kids, Katrina Children’s Choir, Impact Repertory Theatre, N’Kenge and Peng Peng Gong.
Register and purchase seats today!
CA Lawmakers Pass Budget Failing to Protect Children
After nearly three months of negotiations, the California legislature finally came to an agreement with Governor Schwarzenegger and passed a budget. Despite the historic stalemate, lawmakers failed to address the systemic budget problems that create shortfalls each year for critical programs and services for children and families.
Not only did lawmakers fail to adequately plan for future budget shortfalls, they closed this year's $15.2 billion budget deficit by targeting hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to programs and services that aid California's poorest children. These cuts, coupled with the continued underfunding of children's programs, deny California children the health coverage, quality child care, foster care services and cash assistance they need to survive and thrive. This failure to protect and prioritize the needs of children will not only negatively impact California’s children today and in the future, it will also lead to more tax dollars being spent on emergency room health care and other costs that could have been prevented by properly funding children’s services in the budget.
CDF-CA is already looking towards next year's budget battle, and will continue our advocacy in support of real revenue solutions that will ensure sustained funding for the programs and services that California children need to grow up healthy and become productive adults. We thank all of the individuals and organizations that have taken action since January to hold elected officials accountable.
Visit CDF-California's website for a full update on the 2008-09 California budget.
CDF Opposes California's Prop 6
In the coming weeks, CDF will focus on defeating California's Proposition 6, a horrendous November 4 ballot initiative. The measure would grossly expand the criminalization of youths through massive revisions to the state’s juvenile justice codes. Under the deceptive title, "The Safe Neighborhoods Act," Proposition 6 would change current law to require that more children, as young as 14 years old, are tried and sentenced as adults. For example, Proposition 6 would put youths at risk of a new jail sentence for infractions as minor as failing to provide local officials with their current address. Under another provision, if a youth has been arrested for one of several crimes while his family is receiving federal housing assistance, the entire family could lose this benefit and become homeless. Proposition 6 would generate no additional revenues, but requires new spending of more than $500 million each year for law enforcement personnel and prisons and mandates $500 million for new prison construction.
Read CDF President Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch® column, "Invest in Children Not Prisons—Stop Prop 6"
Visit CDF-CA's website for more information.
Faith Leaders Convene for Child Advocacy—Join the Effort!
Earlier this month, CDF-CA hosted the 1st Annual National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® Brunch in Los Angeles with a similar event held in Oakland in July. These multi-faith events provided the opportunity for faith leaders to renew their commitment to care for, protect and advocate for all children by inviting them to be Children's Sabbaths Ambassadors. Over 20 faith organizations throughout California from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Baha'i and other faiths have committed to participate in the 2008 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths celebration and all people and organizations of all faiths around the country are encouraged to do the same. This year's National Observance of Children's Sabbaths weekend takes place October 17-19. Contact CDF-CA to get involved in California Children's Sabbaths activities and learn more about this event and how to order a copy of the Children's Sabbaths manual.
Congress Passes Bill to Help Hundreds of Thousands of Children and Youth in Foster Care
Thanks to the support of advocates from across the country, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893), passed by Congress last week, is now awaiting President Bush's signature. The Act includes the most significant reforms for abused and neglected children in more than a decade, many of which will help to keep children out of the pipeline to prison. The Act will also help hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care by promoting permanent families for them through relative guardianship and adoption and keeping them connected with their siblings, helping older youth in care increase their opportunities for success, improving educational stability and improved health outcomes for children in foster care, increasing services and protections for American Indian children and expanding training for staff working on behalf of these children.
Read CDF President Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch® Column,"Congress Must Pass Legislation to Help Children in Foster Care" and visit our website to learn more.
"Bridge to Benefits" Project Improves Economic Stability for Thousands of Minnesota Families
CDF-MN's web-based "Bridge to Benefits" project has helped link 2,500 families, totaling more than 7,000 family members, to find out if they're eligible for important benefits. The initiative, launched in late 2007, is a free, anonymous, online screening tool to help families across Minnesota find out if they are eligible for important benefits that improve their economic stability and then helps them with the application process. Benefits include energy assistance, health care, child care assistance, food support, school meals and tax credits. CDF-MN has also spearheaded similar projects in Montana and South Dakota in recent months.
Hundreds Run for The Children's Defense Fund
Earlier this month, hundreds of people turned out for the People® Red Carpet Fun Run to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman was on hand and spoke to eager runners and walkers reminding them of the millions of children in the United States living in poverty and lacking health coverage. Mrs. Edelman joined CDF staff, youth leaders, and more than 600 participants in the 3 mile run/1.5 mile walk around the historic Paramount Studios. After the run, participants enjoyed food, games, and Maybelline® New York mini-makeovers as well as a performance by Michelle Williams from the multi-platinum singing group Destiny’s Child.
October Is Children's Sabbaths Month!
In October, thousands of religious communities from across the country will be celebrating children as sacred gifts and deepening their moral responsibility to advocate for all children through CDF's National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® celebrations. It is not too late to get your faith community involved! Find out more information and check out our newest advocacy resources to get your community involved in letter-writing campaigns to your elected officials as well as worship bulletins to help educate and organize your community around ensuring all children live up to their fullest, God-given potential.