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'Leave No Child Behind' Vigil March 13
Capitol East Steps, Washington, D.C.

WHAT: A "Lenten Vigil" at the U.S. Capitol in support of the "Act to Leave No Child Behind" (S. 940 and H.R. 1990). Vigil co-sponsors are the National Council of Churches and the Children’s Defense Fund. CDF initiated the campaign "to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start with the support of caring families and communities." (See www.childrensdefense.org for more information.)

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, March 13, 2 to 2:45 p.m., East steps of the U.S. Capitol Building (House Office Building side), Washington, D.C. Vigil participants will gather beforehand for a 1 p.m. briefing at Bread for the World, 50 "F" Street N.W., Suite 500, leaving at 1:30 p.m. to walk together to the Capitol.

WHO: Vigil leaders will include the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary, and Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, CDF President.

DETAILS: The "Act to Leave No Child Behind" (S. 940 and H.R. 1990) is comprehensive legislation for America’s children introduced on May 23, 2001, by Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Representative George Miller of California.

In a written greeting to vigil participants, Drs. Edgar and Edelman said, "In this season of reflection and self-examination no American can feel satisfied with our national credo of ‘liberty and justice for all’ while more than 12 million of our children live in poverty, lack health care and adequate, affordable child care and other critical services.

"By participating in this Wednesday in Washington you are lending your voice and action to a persistent campaign to Leave No Child Behind. We are a movement of people determined that every child shall have the opportunity to live the life for which he or she was created."

The NCC - the nation’s leading ecumenical organization whose 36 Protestant and Orthodox member denominations comprise 50 million adherents - in 2001 launched a 10-year mobilization against U.S. poverty, giving it particular emphasis every March (see the NCC’s "March: On Poverty 2002" at www.ncccusa.org/poverty.  

The March 13 "Lenten Vigil" at the Capitol precedes the NCC-sponsored "TANF Action Days for Poverty Reduction," which opens at 4 p.m. March 13 at National City Christian Church on Thomas Circle. This ecumenical conference on reauthorization of key welfare policies continues Thursday at the Rayburn House Office Building (Room 2226, House Judiciary Committee Hearing Room), concluding Friday morning (March 15) back at the church.

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