The 90 Percent
Put simply, children lost and the 90 percent of Americans who support universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of underage or dangerous people lost. The Senate voted against expanding common-sense background checks and they voted against banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines designed only to kill as many human beings as possible as fast as possible. They voted to protect guns instead of children. So what are we going to do about it? We must never give up! We must fight on.
Let’s consider this month’s vote in the Senate ‘Round 1’ in our fight to ensure every child a Safe Start. In the next round, we must stop this relentless war against our children and dethrone the NRA, whose reign obstructs what 90 percent of Americans want. We must expose the lies and misinformation of the NRA. We must make more phone calls and more visits to members of Congress’ home offices. We must organize nonviolent demonstrations and speak out in protest. When our children’s lives are at stake, could anything be more important? Listen to Marian Wright Edelman’s call to action and share her recent Child Watch® Column.
Help us go the distance. Make your contribution today.
Children in the States
Do you know how the children in your state fare compared to children in other states? Do you know how many children live in your state? Do you know how old they are and their racial and ethnic backgrounds? Do you know how many are poor? Lack health coverage or are in foster care? How does your state rank in per pupil expenditures?
Find out all of this and more with our newly updated Children in the States factsheets.
Take Action NOW
Yesterday, the National Institute for Early Education Research released its annual report, State of Preschool 2012. The major findings are that the 2011-2012 school year was an “unprecedented disaster” for state pre-k programs and the children and families it serves. State funding for pre-kindergarten decreased by over half a billion dollars in the 2011-2012 school year, the single largest one-year drop ever. As many states continued to face budget deficits and a stagnant economy, they opted to put children on the chopping block. This grim news highlights the critical need to create overwhelming support for President Obama’s early childhood development and learning initiative.
We need your voice and your stories to support the historic $4 billion investment in early childhood development and learning President Obama announced earlier this month to ensure future success for our children and our nation. His plan would expand home visiting programs for young children and parents, high-quality child care for children in low-income families, and provide high-quality preschool for all low-income and moderate income 4-year-olds. The plan would promote full-day kindergarten to ensure children enter first grade ready to read and ready to learn. Now it’s up to us to build the public will to ensure this plan becomes a reality.
Join us and our coalition partners in the Strong Start for Children—Building America’s Future campaign so we can reach our goal of 10,000 letters in support of the President’s plan. Personalize your letter to President Obama so he knows how important this investment would be for you and the children you know and love. This will only take a moment, so please act now and ask everyone in your network to act NOW. We must hear from you by May 2nd so letters can be delivered to the President.
Swords Into Plowshares
It is not too early to begin planning for the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® celebration, “Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty.” We hope you will begin to plan a weekend of events and services with your faith community to lift up the relentless taking of life by gun violence, which takes seven precious children or teens from us every day. We hope this call to action will galvanize places of worship and people of faith across the religious spectrum to unite in raising an irresistible moral and nonpartisan citizen voice demanding every one of our leaders protect children, teens, and adults from morally obscene gun violence and poverty.
Our National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths manual will be available online in early June, and will offer prayers, sermons, lesson plans and suggested actions to guide you and your faith community. Right now, we urge you to start planning a “Turn in Guns and Turn Off Violence” event at your place of worship. Read Marian Wright Edelman’s welcome letter.
Children's Budget Watch
The good news is that sequestration was back on the front page this week. The bad news is that Congress only took action when its own comfort was in peril. Apparently increased airport delays last week were unacceptable as members headed out of town for the April recess. When Congress flies back next week, they must take action for children and all Americans and repeal the across-the-board cuts imposed by sequestration. Sequestration is bad policy; it is dangerous policy. It is hurting children, the homeless, the unemployed and millions of others across the country.
Earlier this month President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal that would replace sequestration, raise new revenues, and make a significant investment in young children. It addresses the epidemic of gun violence in our nation by proposing important investments in gun safety, school safety and access to mental health services. It would protect Medicaid and make additional investments in education, child nutrition initiatives, and supports for low-income families that will help level the playing field for children across the country, strengthening the foundation for success all children need to survive and thrive. The President’s budget included the deficit reduction compromise he had offered House Majority Leader Boehner in 2012. Unfortunately, this compromise embodies an imbalance between spending cuts and new revenues, and leaves intact some of the tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Now all eyes turn to Congress to see whether the House and Senate are able to make a budget deal, despite having passed dramatically different budgets last month.
Learn more about President Obama’s budget and what it means for children and families. We’ll keep you up-to-date as Congress tries to reach a compromise in the coming weeks and months.
Youth Leadership Spotlight
There are many avenues young adults can take to join CDF’s Youth Leadership Development Program. Roslynn Baker entered through one but continued up the leadership ladder through another.
As a college student who loved working with children, Roslynn found the CDF Freedom Schools® program in Springfield, Illinois and served for two summers as a Servant Leader Intern. Through that experience she fell in love with CDF’s mission and our passion to improve the lives of children. She wanted more so she applied for CDF’s Internship Program in our national office and recalled the joyous day when she received the call that she had been accepted. She finished her internship with us last week but she left behind this gem of a video, which she produced, about our program for interns and CDF’s commitment to investing in future leaders, today and tomorrow.