"Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation. For our children. For our communities. For Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult but I need to say something. Gun violence is a big problem. Too many people are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you."
- former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords,
January 30, 2013, Senate Gun Violence Hearing
Be Bold, Be Courageous. Act Now.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords may have spoken only a few words yesterday in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This courageous survivor of the Tucson massacre told all of us the words we need to act on. President Obama’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence has given the country and Congress a roadmap. Now it’s up to Congress to act and it’s up to us to continue calling on them to protect children, not guns, until they do.
Last Saturday, we joined more than 100 families from Newtown, Connecticut and thousands of mothers, fathers, grandparents, faith leaders, and political leaders to march on Washington for common-sense gun safety laws. The march was organized by concerned citizens who felt the need to do something following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman was a featured speaker. Watch the view from the march and listen to common sense from the speakers.
This march was a great first step. But we need to continue to raise a ruckus. In the coming days and weeks we will ask you to join us and act to #ProtectChildrenNotGuns. Right now we all need to educate our family, friends and neighbors to the truth about guns and the deadly toll gun violence is taking on children and teens each year. Download our resources and share the shocking truths about gun violence in America here's what you can do right now:
- Read and share Marian Wright Edelman’s most recent Child Watch® columns.
- Sign and share our petition if you have not already.
- Donate $25 or more to our campaign and we’ll send five ‘Protect Children, Not Guns’ bumper stickers as a thank you.
Help us get the word out online, on the road, and everywhere you go.
Children’s Budget Watch
In February, we expect there will be more discussion in Congress about whether and how to stop the across the board spending cuts (“sequestration”) that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1. These cuts would affect both Pentagon spending and “ non-defense discretionary” spending, cutting deeper into education and early childhood investments such as Head Start, that provide critical supports to children and low income families.
We will ask you to join us for a national call-in day on February 11th to remind members of Congress to Be Careful What They Cut. We know cutting children from the budget now will cost us all more later. With 16.1 million children still living in poverty, and many low income families struggling to stay afloat, we need to protect and strengthen the investments we know work: Medicaid, SNAP, early childhood, education and others. Investing in our children today is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do – creating jobs for their parents, and promoting long term economic growth for America. You may download CDF’s budget principles here.
National Day of Service
On Saturday, January 19, the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program hosted a National Day of Service and Social Action at the largest homeless shelter for children and families in the nation’s capital, the D.C. General Emergency Family Shelter. Newly crowned Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan was the special guest and read aloud to the scholars during the morning’s Harambee! The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, the See Forever Foundation and Maya Angelou Schools, the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), D.C. General Emergency Family Shelter, and the Capital Area Food Bank partnered with CDF to put the spotlight on the critical need to end poverty and homelessness in America and the devastating impact it has on children and families as our response to the President’s call to serve on inauguration weekend. The children had classroom sessions and we finished the day with a Children’s Sabbath Service and Call to Action from CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and the Rev. Dr. Lewis Anthony. Check out this great photo-slideshow from the this very special day.
New Faces Join CDF
We’re thrilled to welcome Melanie Hartzog and Caroline Fichtenberg as the newest members of the CDF family.
Melanie Hartzog will join CDF-New York as Executive Director on February 25, 2013. Currently Family Services Coordinator in the New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Melanie brings to CDF a powerful mix of senior policy experience, an engaging vision of smart collaboration, and passion for making a difference in the lives of New York’s children. As Family Services Coordinator, Melanie oversees several city agencies responsible for the delivery of social services and justice programs. Melanie is also Project Director for the Young Men’s Initiative, a bold and innovative public/private partnership aimed at reducing disparities between economic and social outcomes of young men of color and other demographic groups in New York City.
Caroline Fichtenberg, Ph.D. has joined us as Director of Research in the national office. Caroline previously served as the director of the Center for Public Health Policy at the American Public Health Association. She also served as a health policy advisor and health policy fellow for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and director of the Office of Epidemiology and Planning for the Baltimore City Health Department. While working for the city of Baltimore, Caroline worked to analyze youth violence issues to paint a picture of the children who are victims and perpetrators of homicide. Her analysis identified youth at risk, and revealed a 20 year gap in life expectancy between different neighborhoods in the city.