Inspired by Marian Wright Edelman - Author, Leader, Civil Rights Lawyer, Children's Rights Activist & Founder of the Childrens Defense Fund

Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is an American activist for civil rights and children's rights. She is the founder and president emerita of the Children's Defense Fund, she worked as a civil rights lawyer, she helped found the Head Start program, and she is the author of numerous books including the New York Times bestseller The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours.
Marian Wright Edelman quote


"Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others." 
 Marian Wright Edelman 

Edelman was born June 6th, 1939, in South Carolina. Her leadership and academic achievements took her all over the world, and when she returned, she became a part of the civil rights movement. She graduated from Spellman College, went on to get a law degree from Yale, and she has continued to be a part of the change for good ever since.

I greatly admire Marian Wright Edelman, and she influences so much of what I do. 

She reminds me of my mother, caring so deeply for others and other people's children, and she inspires me with her passion to help, to lift others up, and to bring about change. 

Before and while in college, I read everything I could find that she had written, measuring her every word, and appreciating her deep desire to help make the world a better place for children.

One of the highlights of my college career is interning at the Children’s Defense Fund, and after college, I was fortunate to work for the Children's Defense Fund as well. Being surrounded by so many people who cared deeply for others, for children, and for equal rights, it was inspiring, and it lit the fire in me to do what I can, even if it is just little things at a local level. 

It was one of the reasons why I initially started a local news site, and it is one of the reasons why one of my true joys is writing the stories of those who fought for others and for equal rights, especially those stories that are likely to just disappear from history if they are not written down. 

I remember wanting so badly to attend the annual CDF gala just so I could meet Mrs. Edelman. But with a toddler at home, and a long New Jersey commute, I had to pass on the ticket.   

The closest I ever got to meeting Marian Wright Edelman was hand-delivering a letter to her at the exclusive Yale Club in Manhattan. I didn't even know such a place existed until I stood there, realizing that there was a big difference between little me and the big world of great changemakers. Knowing how much work it had taken for her to get there, to overcome the challenges in her way, just knowing she was there, so close by, despite not even meeting her, it breathed new hope into me that I too could make a difference in the world, even if it was just a small difference. 

"Don't just dream about grandiose acts of doing good. Every day do small ones, that add up over time to positive patterns." 
Marian Wright Edelman 

I spent many years trying to bring about change at my children's school, hoping to help encourage the school and the school district to bring about an equitable education for all students and try to get as many of the students into the advanced programs, especially those of color and those students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Small changes happened at the district level, and I met people, who wanted the same change, but when I eventually realized that it wouldn't happen at the school level, and that it went against their agenda, I felt defeated. I felt as if all my efforts had been wasted. Then I remembered Marian's words.

"You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day."
 Marian Wright Edelman
I didn't win this battle, it was a complete loss, and I will admit that I am still discouraged from the defeat of not being able to make a significant change. It led me to completely opt-out from seeking change at the school level, but I hope that I will one day find the strength to continue the fight for equitable education. 

I could have continued to try, but I realized something very important after realizing defeat. Sometimes you have to fight for those who are closest to you before you can fight for others. This is where I currently am at, trying to fight for my children's rights to an equitable education, trying to help them succeed despite of their background and the color of their skin. It is so easy to lose sight of those closest to you, when you are constantly fighting for others. 

Marian Wright Edelman The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours

 A few of Marian Wright Edelman's books: 

☆ The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours 
☆ Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors 
☆ The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation 

You can find most of Marian Wright Edelman's books here. 

Marian Wright Edelman has written numerous books, and she has influenced many great leaders in this country including Martin Luther King, Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Maya Angelou. 

 “All who love children are served generously and intelligently by the ideas, commitments, and passion of Marian Wright Edelman. Her arms are open to the children and adults of the world, and we all are stronger and more safe because of her.” 
Maya Angelou 

Who inspires you to be better and do better? 


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