Internationally recognized speaker on Children's Rights, Marian Wright Edelman comes to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at the Oklahoma City University Freede Wellness Center at NW 27th and Kentucky. http://www.okcu.edu/intramural/freede/
Edelman, daughter of a Baptist minister who grew up in the South in the 1940's . Edelman became aware of the need for Civil Rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia... and then pursued a law degree in the East, and returned to the Deep South addressing disparities for the NAACP legal defense fund in Mississippi. She has held a variety of jobs regarding evolving rights and opportunities for people of color.
Edelman has written a variety of books and papers dealing with issues related to child rights, education and development. She started an organization called the Children's Defense Fund (www.ChildrensDefense.org) which looks at all three. She is a tireless spokesperson, with a mission to challenge existing systems and call for change.
Children's Defense Fund cites Edelman has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
It is Women's History Month, and so some notable quotes therein from Edelman http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/marian_edelman_2.htm
"There's ignorance in people who just don't know that we have a national child emergency. And there are a lot of people who are conveniently ignorant--they don't want to know." Edelman
"We are willing to spend the least amount of money to keep a kid at home, more to put him in a foster home and the most to institutionalize him." Edelman
"Investing in [children] is not a national luxury or a national choice. It's a national necessity. If the foundation of your house is crumbling, you don't say you can't afford to fix it while you're building astronomically expensive fences to protect it from outside enemies. The issue is not are we going to pay -- it's are we going to pay now, up front, or are we going to pay a whole lot more later on." Edelman
" This slogan of ending welfare as we know it is not going to help the more than 70 percent of the poor who work every day. Wages have not kept pace with inflation and with changes in the structure of our economy. There are almost 38 million poor Americans, most of whom work, most of whom are white. So the way we play the race issue in these matters keeps a lot of folk of all colors in poverty." Edelman
This talk dovetails efforts to clarify and distinguish current standards in Oklahoma, and looks to challenge and change thoughts, plans, goals and efforts that better serve the children and families here.
Oklahoma has a very high rate of use of child protective services involvement, fostercare and adoptions placement, as well as incarceration of juveniles and women, especially those of color.
Edelman's message is expected to be a timely insight transfusion to the community attendees who find child and family processes in Oklahoma to be confusing and inadequate.