Stop the War on Children | June 2017

Keep the Pressure on to #ProtectMedicaid and #KeepKidsCovered


Thanks to all your calls, tweets, emails and resistance, this week Senate Republican Leadership postponed action on its health bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), until after the July 4th recess because they did not have the votes needed to move forward, let alone pass it. This makes these next 10 days critically important! Republican leaders still plan to hold a vote after the recess and are in the midst of negotiating backroom deals with individual Senators. We must continue to keep the pressure on and remind Senators just how devastating the BCRA would be for children and families. The BCRA would rip health coverage from 22 million Americans and leave millions paying more for less. The bill would end Medicaid as we know it with a per capita cap and restrict health coverage for children and adults with pre-existing conditions — all to pay for a giant tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Thirty-seven million children rely on Medicaid, including 40 percent of all children with special health care needs, and more than 40 percent of all births are covered by Medicaid. They would all be harmed by the radical changes in the BCRA. None of the changes Senate Leaders are discussing will fix the fundamental flaws of their bill or protect children and other vulnerable populations – those with disabilities and seniors. While your Senators are home for the 4th of July recess (they return to Washington on July 10th) urge them to oppose efforts to shred the health care safety net. Make a loud noise at 4th of July parades. Visit or call their district offices. Join other allies for a healthy America in town hall meetings and other forums. Keep the pressure on! Tell your Senators the BCRA cannot be fixed and must be defeated. Urge them to step up to #ProtectMedicaid and #KeepKidsCovered!


Saving Medicaid for New York’s Children and Families


Children’s Defense Fund-New York (CDF-NY), like all CDF state offices, has been actively raising awareness about the extremely harmful Affordable Care Act repeal bill approved by the House of Representatives last month and now awaiting a vote in the Senate. CDF-NY has worked closely with its health and faith partners to co-sponsor numerous events to make clear that these health bills can’t be fixed. These events include community forums in Staten Island, Northern Manhattan, and the Bronx. CDF-NY’s health policy director, Ben Anderson, testified at the New York City Public Advocate’s Hearing on Health Care and was a speaker at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s press conference at Bellevue Hospital on June 23, where the Senator vowed to oppose the “mean” Senate health bill. We urge you to keep the pressure on when your own Senators are back home for the July 4th recess. Tell them to #ProtectMedicaid and #KeepKidsCovered.


CDF-Texas and Indivisible Austin Team Up to #ProtectOurCare


Putting a human face on complex public policy issues is often the only way to connect-the-dots for lawmakers and the public about their harmful impact. CDF-Texas and Indivisible Austin recently teamed up to launch, a website that invites visitors to upload their personal story on why Medicaid matters, and then shares that impact with Senators and key decision makers. The goal is to collect 500 video testimonies of real, everyday people (not just Texans) whose health insurance is threatened by the U.S. Senate’s dangerous health bill. Time is running out! Join CDF-Texas at to tell your Senators how repealing the Affordable Care Act, drastically capping and cutting Medicaid, shifting costs to states and ending key protections for sick children and adults will hurt you, your family and your community. #ProtectOurCare


Momentous Movement for Low-Income Families in California
On June 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a state budget that significantly expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), a refundable state tax credit that increases the economic security of low-income working families. The expansion will provide an income boost to more than one million additional families in the state. CDF-CA has been leading advocacy efforts to strengthen the CalEITC as a key step toward ending child poverty in California. Learn more.


Welcome Shimica Gaskins!


The Children’s Defense Fund is thrilled to welcome Shimica Gaskins as the new Executive Director of CDF-California. She brings a passion for justice and extensive experience in law and public policy. Prior to joining CDF, she served as the acting deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she developed and implemented innovative policy initiatives including Smart on Crime and other areas in law enforcement and emerging technologies, prison reform, reentry and children with incarcerated parents. Previously, she managed complex civil litigation for Covington & Burling LLP; and clerked for judges on both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. “I am honored to join an organization that advocates to ensure a level playing field for every child. More than ever, the Children's Defense Fund is giving voice to our children who cannot vote or lobby for their futures, and I am excited to lead that effort in the great State of California,” said Gaskins. Please join us in welcoming Shimica Gaskins into the CDF family!


CDF Freedom Schools® National Training


Nearly 2,000 college students and recent graduates joined us for CDF’s annual Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute at CDF Haley Farm in Tennessee in early June. The trainees — who will be working at CDF Freedom Schools® program sites this summer — learned about servant leadership, how to deliver the integrated reading curriculum, and how to make learning fun. Their energy and enthusiasm for their tasks ahead as servant leaders teaching our CDF Freedom Schools scholars had the floor shaking with cheers and chants and songs. A core component of national training is team building exercises. Extraordinary speakers came to inspire them and affirm the powerful, important work of the CDF Freedom Schools. The Servant Leader Interns learned about “Why Black History Matters” and how important it is that the scholars they will be teaching have diverse books where they can see themselves reflected and have a deeper sense of connection to reading. They heard from a public official, university president, other educators and civil rights leaders about the importance of recognizing that every generation is called to further social justice and that they all have “something inside so strong” to share with the 12,000 children they began serving this month in over 170 CDF Freedom Schools sites across the country.


Join Road to Freedom Today


Research shows that only 48 percent of children living in poverty are ready to learn at age five, compared to 75 percent of children from families with moderate and high incomes. Summer learning loss makes that achievement gap grow larger each year. Today, you can do something about it. Join the Road to Freedom fundraising campaign. Road to Freedom is a social fundraising campaign for the CDF Freedom Schools® program to help vulnerable children in low-income communities become great readers and leaders. By becoming a fundraiser you can help more children on their journey to literacy, leadership, social advocacy, and toward becoming your community’s best citizens! Get started now and create your own Road to Freedom fundraising campaign page today. Don’t want to start your own campaign? You can still contribute by making a donation today.

Check it out, and please share your personal fundraising campaign page with your family, friends and others in your community. Together we can ensure all children know what freedom looks like.


Renew Your Spirit for Justice This July


“So what do we do after a year of weeping, in the face of such immoral leadership, at a time when children’s lives and future are under sustained assault? We cannot give up, we must not surrender to despair, and we will not quit because our children need us and our God expects no less of us.” – Marian Wright Edelman.

Fighting for social change and justice for children can be exhausting, especially in today’s political climate when the constant barrage of negative news and injustices seems endless. With so much work to be done, it’s important to seek strength, strategies, partners and powerful inspiration to keep going. We will gather July 17-21 at CDF Haley Farm for the 23rd annual CDF Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry and together, as a Beloved Community, summon our strength and prepare for the movement-building work ahead. We hope you will join us to recharge and renew for further action. At the CDF Proctor Institute you’ll find great preachers, speakers and workshop leaders to inspire and inform your advocacy efforts and provide you with the tools and resources necessary to make effective changes for children in your community and the country. This year’s speakers provide a variety of perspectives on social justice; there will be something that resonates with everyone.

We hope you will join our Beloved Community at CDF Haley Farm July 17-21, and join faith communities across the nation as we change the odds for our most vulnerable children. Please make sure to register today!


CDF-OH Beat the Odds® Celebration


On the evening of June 15, Children's Defense Fund-Ohio was joined by CDF president Marian Wright Edelman and nearly 200 guests to honor five extraordinary high school seniors at CDF-Ohio’s 2017 Beat the Odds® awards ceremony in Columbus. Each of the 2017 honorees has overcome daunting adversity, yet has persevered to excel academically and give back to their communities. Through the generosity of supporters and program sponsors, each student received a $5,000 college scholarship, a laptop computer and event attire. Marian Wright Edelman called upon guests to “change the odds, so children don’t have to beat the odds.”

Congratulations to Ohio’s 2017 Beat the Odds scholarship recipients:

Abigail Huffman - Cambridge, Ohio (Cambridge High School)

Ciara Scott - Cleveland, Ohio (Washington Park Environmental Studies Academy)

Terrell Johnson - Columbus, Ohio (Eastmoor Academy)

Sara Abou Rashed - Columbus, Ohio (Centennial High School)

Teneeyah Hale - Columbus, Ohio (Northland High School)

Please watch and share the stories of these extraordinary young men and women.  


Marian Wright Edelman’s June Child Watch® Columns encourage us all to stand for children by protecting them against President Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts and extremely harmful Congressional health proposals to end Medicaid as we know it. She highlights the importance of all children having role models, as she had, to help them pursue economic justice and civil rights for all. Please read and share her columns with others in your network.

Prayers for a More Just Nation

Saving Medicaid - An Urgent SOS

Reflections on Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook: A Great Teacher and Role Model

Moving Forward for Children in California and Nationally


The Children’s Defense Fund is dedicated to working with child advocates like you, policymakers and others to ensure all of America's children remain a top priority in 2017.

Please show your support by giving as generously as you can and encourage others in your network to join our community.

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