March for Our Children | March 2018
Protect Children Not Guns: Beyond the March for Our Lives
On March 24, 2018 we joined thousands in voice and action at the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and across the country affirming
the power of collective voices and amplifying calls to action against gun
violence. Marches around the country offered signs of hope and showcased the
optimism of a new generation of young leaders and activists.
We must continue building on this momentum
and insist on common sense approaches to gun violence prevention:
- banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines;
- closing loopholes in the current background check
- raising the age for the purchase of long guns;
- raising red flags when law enforcement and family
members’ concerns warrant denial of gun purchases;
- banning devices like bump stocks that allow shooters
to increase the rate of fire in their semi-automatic weapons;
- protecting victims of domestic violence by extending
gun restrictions on perpetrators; and
- ending the ban on federally-supported research on
preventing gun violence.
your members of Congress urging them to respond to the passionate demands of
young leaders: Protect
Children, Not Guns, and vote
to support safety for all our children.
Updates from the Hill
FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, a bipartisan, bicameral package
signed by the President just before Congress left for recess, includes
important funding increases for key programs for young children, new help for
vulnerable families impacted by the opioid crisis, and expanded education,
training and employment opportunities for older youth and adults, many helping
to make up for prior funding shortfalls.
billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant is an historic
increase to help improve both quality and access to child care for working
parents. There were also increases for Head Start and Early Head Start, child
care for mothers in college and 21st Century Community Learning Centers, as
well as a boost for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
with child welfare systems’ response to the opioid crisis, the package also
includes $20 million for kinship navigator programs to assist grandparents
stepping in to care for grandchildren and a $20 million increase for Regional
Partnership Grants to improve cross system coordination to help families
struggling with substance abuse.
also included additional funding for education, training and workforce programs
that support low-income youth and adults, including those with young families. More
than $100 million was added to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
programs, and there were new resources for apprenticeship
programs and student aid.
Mobilize for Justice: A Call to Students at Seminaries and Divinity Schools!
“The Proctor Institute by itself is
a unique laboratory for learning the state of faith-rooted movements for
justice, but when curated through a seminary-specific framework and community
of learning, it becomes the richest
experience of Freedom pedagogy available anywhere in the country.” Ched
Myers, activist theologian, author, and Children's Defense Fund (CDF)
Proctor Institute faculty
July, clergy, seminarians, religious
educators, organizers, young adult leaders, and other faith-based
advocates for children gather at CDF's Haley Farm in Clinton,
the annual Samuel DeWitt
Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. They come together to discuss
strategies, perfect organizing skills, and improve models to help end child
poverty, disrupt the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® crisis, and improve the lives
of all children in America.
CDF Proctor Institute has special
opportunities for students at seminaries and divinity schools. Dr.
Janet Wolf and a diverse team of professors lead a CDF Proctor
Institute graduate intensive course for credit. Enrollees should expect an intensive immersion
experience. In addition to challenging course work and transformative
discussions, seminarians will participate in the Proctor Institute’s program. In the four years since the
graduate intensive course was developed with seed funding from the
late Dr. Dale Andrews of Vanderbilt
Divinity School, the seminary track has quadrupled, with nearly twenty
theological institutions now collaborating in what has become the premier
context for integrating “seminary, sanctuary and streets” in a collegial
community of learning and practice.
enroll in Proctor’s seminary track for credit or to encourage your seminary to
become a participating institution, contact Dr. Janet Wolf firstname.lastname@example.org.
the lineup of Great
Preachers and Teachers. Register today! Early
bird special ends on April 30, 2018.
CDF Freedom Schools® Program Welcomes Dr. Philippa Smithey!
With great pride we announce the
selection of Dr. Philippa N. Smithey as the new Director of CDF
Freedom Schools! A graduate of Howard University (B.A. and M.A.) and
American University (Ph.D.) with an extensive history of work reflecting her
commitment to education, political participation and social justice, Dr.
Smithey has been a staunch supporter of grassroots efforts to close the
minority achievement gap and increase college access for minority youth,
especially those who are the first in their families to attend college.
joined the Children’s Defense Fund in December 2015 as a Senior Education
Grants Specialist in Development. She retired from the Montgomery County
Public Schools (MCPS) in 2016, after 12 years of service as its grants
specialist and held similar positions with the District of Columbia Public
Schools and the Alexandria City Public Schools. Dr. Smithey’s work history
includes seven years of fulltime and adjunct teaching at several
universities—Howard University, American University, Tuskegee University, and
Southeastern University. She will join a tremendously dedicated team which
has grown over the past year.
CDF Freedom Schools® Program: Year-Round in Washington DC
CDF Freedom Schools scholars from Center City Public Charter School Trinidad enjoy their recent filed trip at Newseum
excited to announce the opening of two CDF Freedom Schools® program sites in
Washington, DC. The sites are at Plummer Elementary School in Benning Heights
and Center City Public Charter School in Trinidad. A three-year 21st Century Community
Learning Centers grant
awarded to CDF November 2017 is enabling more than 100 children from some of
the District’s most underserved neighborhoods to experience CDF Freedom
Schools for 25 weeks during the school year and six weeks in the summer.
The CDF Freedom Schools summer and after-school program seeks
to build strong, literate and empowered children prepared to make a difference
in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world. The program
helps children fall in love with reading and in the process curbs summer
learning losses while closing achievement gaps. Last summer, over 12,000
children in 27 states experienced CDF Freedom Schools.
Welcome to CDF-Ohio, Tracy Nájera!
We are pleased to announce that Tracy Nájera, Ph.D,
MPA, joined us on March 5th as the new Executive Director of CDF-Ohio.
Ms. Nájera brings a long-standing commitment to
improving the lives of children and their families to her new role. She
began her career with CDF-Ohio as a Research Fellow and went on to work at the
Ohio Office of Budget and Management. During her tenure, she served as the
Section Chief for Education managing policy and budget priorities spanning
early childhood education through workforce development.
Tracy also served for six years as a Senior Director
of the Ohio
Appalachian Collaborative at Battelle for Kids
(BFK), where she managed a federal project with the state of Ohio to
improve the efficacy of teachers serving students in Appalachian Ohio. During her
time with BFK, she found ways to reconnect and be a supporter of CDF by
working in partnership with CDF-Ohio on the 2016 release of Ohio’s
Appalachian Children at a Crossroads: A Roadmap for Action report. Prior to
joining CDF-Ohio, Tracy worked as a Senior Consultant for Education First
Consulting, where she supported school districts and education
partners to improve education outcomes and
equity for all children.
“Tracy’s understanding of the complexity of the issues
impacting Ohio’s children makes her the ideal person to lead the organization
and continue to build what CDF-Ohio has achieved over the years”
said Marian Wright Edelman, President of Children’s Defense
Marching for Children in New York, Tennessee, and Texas
March 8, 2018, New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio held a youth town hall on school safety to answer
questions and listen to recommendations from current students. Children’s
Defense Fund-New York Education Justice Intern and high school student, Esaunte Latimer
(in the photo above), was one of only a few students able to raise a question
and speak before the Mayor in a gymnasium packed with youth from across the
city. Esaunte addressed the Mayor’s budget priorities and urged him to invest
in more guidance counselors and social workers for under resourced schools.
CDF Nonviolent Organizing Team in Tennessee
continues its work on disrupting the Cradle to Prison® crisis. We hosted nine
law students from Rutgers University for their Alternative Spring Break. Team member
Rahim Buford, poet, author, teacher and organizer released from prison 2.5
years ago after being caged for 26 years, led the orientation. Through
collaboration with the Public Defenders’ Office, Juvenile Court, Juvenile
Detention Center, No Exceptions Prison Collective and Nashville’s Participatory
Defense Team, students had almost 300 hours of volunteer legal work. Dr. Janet
Wolf took the students into Riverbend Maximum Security Institution to meet with
our inside team members, including members of our transformative justice circle
on death row. Students’ comments
included: “I now believe all law students should visit jails and prisons before
we are permitted to practice law… I initially felt retribution was the most favorable view of the
criminal justice system and I now find that to be wrong. The insiders of Riverbend were exemplary
examples of how a mistake does not define you as a person.”
in Texas, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas has started a multi-year
community based effort to improve youth civic engagement in the state. Through
the “Youth Civic Education Roundtable” initiative, CDF-Texas plans to bring
together practitioners, organizations, educators, academics, and community
members committed to improving civic education and youth civic engagement in
Texas. By providing a space for sharing information about best practices, model
programming, and innovative civic education curriculum, its goal is to improve
and increase civic learning in Texas schools. In addition, CDF-Texas joined a
state-wide coalition dedicated to improving high school voter registration in
the state. Leading this new initiative is Michelle
a recent addition to the CDF-Texas team. A native Texan, Michelle has been
dedicated to improving youth civic engagement since she was in high school.
Are You Registered to Vote?
is not a spectator sport…It is a moral imperative for each one of us to
register and vote in our local, state, and national elections this year — and
local, state, and national elections are closer than you may think. Register to
And after you’re done, encourage your friends and family to do the same.