Marian Wright Edelman talks about her new book The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.
The founder of the Children's Defense Fund looks back on what has been done, and what needs to be done, to make the nation and world safe and fair for all children.
Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman was born in and grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina, one of five children.
In 1963, after graduating from Yale Law School, Marian Wright Edelman worked first in New York for the NAACP Legal and Defense Fund, and then in Mississippi for the same organization. There, she became the first African American woman to practice law. During her time in Mississippi, she worked on racial justice issues connected with the civil rights movement, and she also helped get a Head Start program established in her community.
As part of the efforts of Marian Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund on behalf of children, she has also advocated pregnancy prevention, child care funding, health care funding, prenatal care, parental responsibility for education in values, reducing the violent images presented to children, and selective gun control in the wake of school shootings.
My doctoral dissertation dealt with " possible future selves " as we worked with inner-city youth (of all races) in order to bring them to an understanding of the choices they have in how they view themselves, not only now, but also - and most particularly - in the future, and how that picture that they have of themselves, will change the possibilities of their future results.
As a psychotherapist I apply this to anyone who crosses the threshold into my office, because the inner view of the self - now and in the future - is all important in how that future unfolds.
Clearly, the manner in which we educate our children has consequences in their adult lives. Much of that involves: the fact the we as adults have little knowledge of ourselves
the fact that our school system teaches next to nothing about the nature of the human being and his/her psycho-emotional make-up
the fact that much of the above is so, because so little value is placed on the inner quest, as opposed to the enormous value that is placed on the outer (material, professional, social) quest. The two should be in balance, and this needs to begin in our homes and schools, but can only begin if we also work with adults
I think people are generally good but that we are just simply to busy in our daily lives to help that one-in-six child on a direct basis. Government can help financially but government cannot love us. Children need love. The only ones that can provide that are parents.
How can parents be good fathers and mothers when they are worried about their financial future or ruminate on thoughts of exclusion?
The single greatest tragedy in America is that we don't believe in America. We believe in African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans.
Haven't you ever noticed that whites never refer to themselves as White-Americans.
The problem is nationality.
People believe that America is a white America. Every other group is hyphenated.
Personally, I am a man, I am of hispanic origin, I was born in America, and most of all, I am a human being-- a creation of God.
I was that sixth child.