Monday, August 6, 2012

[SDCPJ] Fwd: The State of America's Children 2012

The State of America's Children 2012

By Marian Wright Edelman
Common Dreams
August3,2012

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/03-8

This report is a portrait of where our children are
right now and a tool to spur us to set the vision of
where we need to go to stop the downward mobility of our
children and grandchildren and the diminution of
America's future.Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
once said, "We can have democracy in this country, or we
can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a
few, but we can't have both." When we look at the state
of our union and the state of America's children in
2012, his words ring very true. It's impossible to deny
that our nation's economy, professed values of equal
opportunity, future, and soul are all in danger right
now.

There are 16.4 million poor children in rich America,
7.4 million living in extreme poverty. A majority of
public school students and more than three out of four
Black and Hispanic children, who will be a majority of
our child population by 2019, are unable to read or
compute at grade level in the fourth or eighth grade and
will be unprepared to succeed in our increasingly
competitive global economy. Nearly eight million
children are uninsured. More children were killed by
guns in 2008-2009 than U.S. military personnel in both
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to date. A Black boy born
in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in
his lifetime; a Latino boy a one in six chance of the
same fate.

Millions of children are living hopeless, poverty- and
violence-stricken lives in the war zones of our cities;
in the educational deserts of our rural areas; in the
moral deserts of our corrosive culture that saturates
them with violent, materialistic, and individualistic
messages; and in the leadership deserts of our political
and economic life where greed and self interest trump
the common good over and over. Millions of our children
are being left behind without the most basic human
supports they need to survive and thrive when parents
alone cannot provide for them at a time of deep economic
downturn, joblessness, and low wage jobs that place a
ceiling on economic mobility for millions as America's
dream dims. Unemployment, underemployment, and economic
inequality are rife and will worsen if massive cascading
federal, state, and local budget cuts aimed primarily at
the poor and young succeed. Homeless shelters, child
hunger, and child suffering have become normalized in
the richest nation on earth. It's time to reset our
moral compass and redefine how we measure success.

The Children's Defense Fund has just released The State
of America's Children 2012 Handbook. This report is a
portrait of where our children are right now and a tool
to spur us to set the vision of where we need to go to
stop the downward mobility of our children and
grandchildren and the diminution of America's future. It
provides key national information in a range of areas to
help inform and enable anyone who cares about children
to effectively stand up for them. State tables show how
children are faring state by state and how each state
compares to other states in protecting children. For
example, when we looked closely at poor children across
the nation, ten states plus the District of Columbia had
child poverty rates of 25 percent or higher: Mississippi
was the highest at 32.5 percent, followed by D.C., New
Mexico, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South
Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Only New
Hampshire had a child poverty rate of 10 percent or
lower. When it comes to ensuring equal chances for
children everywhere in our country we have a long way to
go. And when we realize that nationwide a child is born
into poverty every 29 seconds it should sound alarms
from coast to coast.

I hope this report will be a piercing siren call that
wakes up our sleeping, impervious and self-consumed
nation to the lurking dangers of epidemic child neglect,
illiteracy, poverty and violence. It's way past time for
those of us who call ourselves child advocates to speak
and stand up and do whatever is required to close the
gaping gulf between word and deed and between what we
know children need and what we do for them. In a year
filled with choices for our communities, states, and
nation -- from our budgets to our leaders -- please
educate yourself and others about the urgent challenges
facing our children and insist our nation make better
investment choices to ensure their and our futures.

A transforming nonviolent movement is needed to create a
just America. It must start in our homes, communities,
parent and civic associations, and faith congregations
across the nation. It will not come from Washington or
state capitols or politicians. Every single person can
and must make a difference if our voiceless, voteless
children are to be prepared to lead America forward. Now
is the time to close our action and courage gaps,
reclaim our nation's ideals of freedom and justice, and
ensure every child the chance to survive and thrive.

Download your copy of The State of America's Children
2012 Handbook now.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/soac-2012-handbook.pdf

Marian Wright Edelman is the president of the Children's
Defense Fund.

___________________________________________

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