President of Children's Defense Fund to Speak at Sanford

Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, will discuss the effects of poverty on children and possible policy solutions at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy on Thursday, Oct. 25.

The event in Fleishman Commons is free and open to the public.

Edelman will deliver the 2012 Crown Lecture in Ethics, “Getting Everyone on Board: Our Obligation to Children in Poverty,” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Currently, more than 16.1 children live in poverty in the United States.

“Across the nation, 10 states plus the District of Columbia had child poverty rates of 25 percent or higher… Only New Hampshire had a child poverty rate of 10 percent or lower,” Edelman recently wrote in “The Huffington Post.”  “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.”

A lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans, Edelman was the first African American woman to earn admittance to the Mississippi Bar in 1965. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss., and in 1968 became counsel for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People's March. In 1973, she co-founded the Children’s Defense Fund, a national organization that champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care and quality education.

In 2000, Edelman received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. She also received the Robert F. Kennedy Achievement Award for her writing. Her book, “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours” was a bestseller.

The Crown Lecture in Ethics, named for benefactor Lester Crown, brings speakers to Duke to explore ethical issues across all disciplines. Previous Crown lecturers include Rwandan Paul Rusesabagina, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist Jared Diamond, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jody Williams and award-winning science writer Rebecca Skloot. Edelman’s talk is co-sponsored by the Sulzberger Family Fund of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid parking is available at the Science Drive Visitor Lot or Bryan Center Parking Garage. For more information, contact Keri Majikes at (919) 613-7312 or