CDF Slates D.C. Rally To Show Support for Children
Thousands of organizations involved with young people have signed on to sponsor a national day of commitment to children, to be celebrated June 1 on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
"Stand For Children" is the creation of Marian Wright Edelman, the president of the Children's Defense Fund, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington.
"We want to raise awareness and personal responsibility, by rebuilding and rallying around our children," said her son, Jonah Edelman, who is the deputy director of the event.
More than 3,300 national, state, and local associations have agreed to sponsor the event, which is being organized by the CDF. Among them are the National Education Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the AFL-CIO.
Though the list of speakers has not been determined, organizers are hoping a huge crowd will gather for the event, which will include informational and educational exhibits as well as music and dance. "We're expecting 2,500 buses," Mr. Edelman said. "And people by trains and chartered planes."
Marian Edelman in 1991 came up with the idea for a national day of celebration for children in 1991. Planning for the June event began in January, Mr. Edelman said.
Groups across the country are planning celebrations of their own to coincide with those in Washington.
Children in Shelburne Falls, Mass., have been making white ribbons for people to wear as a symbol of support. And at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, as children march in Washington, the town's churches will ring their bells in a show of solidarity, said Susan Silvester, the executive director of the Mary Lyon Fund, a local education fund that is one of the sponsors of "Stand For Children."
Wendy Puriefoy, the president of the Washington-based Public Education Fund Network, a network of community organizations devoted to improving education, said her group has urged local affiliates to participate and to "commit themselves to children by creating high-quality public schools."
The organizers say that they have taken a nonpartisan approach to the event and that no politicians have been asked to speak.
"Although people may be divided along the lines, everyone agrees that we want to raise our children well," Mr. Edelman said.