Children’s Defense Fund founder and president, Marian Wright Edelman spoke on October 13th, 2011 to a group of Roosevelt faculty, staff, alumni and students about the disparity among black, Latino and white children in the United States. As this year’s Mansfield lecturer, Edelman came to Roosevelt to discuss the ongoing education crisis among children of color, presenting some sobering statistics and offering suggestions on what to do to combat these obstacles.
Edelman came to Roosevelt as part of the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation initiative, “Scholarship in Action: Disrupting the Prison Pipeline,” which seeks to identify and address the current system of poor and minority youth being funneled “from the cradle to prison.” Introduced by the director of the Mansfield Institute, Heather M. Dalmage, Edelman was welcomed by a warm round of applause. She cited Eleanor Roosevelt as a “personal heroine,” before beginning her talk, in which she shared her experiences in working with the Children’s Defense Fund and the organization’s work in breaking up the “cradle to prison pipeline.” Edelman supported her anecdotal evidence with statistics that highlight the dire consequences of inequities in education and healthcare. She coined the widened gap of income and social inequality a new kind of apartheid.
Because of inclement weather, Edelman came late, and so there was no time for questions or discussion after her talk. Her speech was received enthusiastically, interrupted frequently by bursts of spontaneous applause. She left the lectern to a standing ovation.
For more information on the Children’s Defense Fund, please visit its Website: http://www.childrensdefense.org/home.html.
For more information on the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation, and for additional information on “Scholarship in Action: Disrupting the Prison Pipeline,” please visit http://www.roosevelt.edu/MISJT.aspx.