Magazine article Ebony

Standing for Children: 200,000 Demand New Agenda

Magazine article Ebony

Standing for Children: 200,000 Demand New Agenda

Article excerpt

From all over America, from Philadelphia, Miami and Detroit, from Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans, came mothers and fathers, little boys and little girls to stand in the sun for Americas children - Black, White and Brown, abused and unabused, poor and well off. Called to Washington, D.C., by Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children's Defense Fund, and motivated by a sense of outrage over the neglect of children in the richest country in the world, more than 200,000 petitioners marched to the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to hold them selves and others to "a higher standard in our homes, in our communities and in our government."

All day and an night long, cars, buses, planes and trains brought demonnstrators to the nations capital. During the morning hours, children and adults marched to Lincoln Memorial waving banners and crayon-colored posters in support of the nations youths.

The day was filled with hope and happiness. Crowds chanted slogans, watched numerous performances and sang songs along with the plus national childrens chorus, America Sings. The day also served as a sober ing wake-up call to parents, educators, health administrators and government officials.

More than 3,700 "endorsing organizations" and their constituencies came to show their support. Included among the participating groups were the Salvation Army, the March of Dimes, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the YWCA, Jack and Jill of America, the Congress of National Black Churches and the Black Student Leadership Network.

A number of African-American luminaries, including National Council of Negro Women President Dr. Dorothy Height, actors Cicely Tyson, Malik Yoba, Lynn Whitfield, Somalia-born model Iman educator and author Comel West and gospel singer Tramaine Hawkins, were also present to take a stand for children.

In the keynote address, Edelman, president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund and the chief organizer of the one-of-a-kind rally, told the crowd: "Children depend on many adults - their families first and foremost, but also their neighbors, teachers, religious and community leaders - to guide their way and support them on their journey to success and adulthood. …

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