Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund and a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans, discussed her work during her keynote address at the November 2009 inaugural conference of the College of Education and Human Services’ Department of Family and Child Studies.
Edelman described the devastating health, emotional, nutritional, and educational conditions that one out of five children in America endure. She also addressed the current condition of children’s poverty and its intersection with race, as well as the particular situation of “Katrina’s Children,” and exhorted the University community to actively engage in improving the lives of all children.
College of Education and Human Services Dean Ada Beth Cutler opened the conference welcoming the audience and presenters, and emphasizing the College’s commitment to social justice. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich added his agreement saying in his welcome remarks that “The Department of Family and Child Studies is a prime example of that commitment, educating over 1,300 students a year to graduate with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of children.”
The conference, which also featured a panel presentation with prominent specialists in the field, was attended by more than 250 faculty, students, human services professionals, educators, and members of the community.