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Children's Defense Fund national conference
slated for July 22-25 in Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio, June 18, 2012 – National Council of Churches member communion representatives and NCC program leaders will be among the 3,000 persons expected to attend the Children’s Defense Fund national conference here July 22-25.

“This is not a talk conference,” said Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund founder and president. “It is an act conference. It is not a problem wallowing, handwringing conference. It is a strategic problem-solving conference.”

Prominent among the ecumenical leaders encouraging attendance at the conference are the Rev. Michael Livingston, director of the National Council of Churches Poverty Initiative, and Shannon Daley-Harris, chair of the NCC’s Committee on Families and Children.

“The 16.4 million children who are poor in the United States, and the 8.3 million children who have no health care, need all the support they can get,” said Livingston. “This conference comes at an urgent time in our nation’s history.”

Daley-Harris, who is also religious affairs advisor at the Children’s Defense Fund, stressed that “a majority of children cannot read or compute at grade level in the fourth, eighth, and 12th grades. We have a growing national crisis that demands an urgent response in these politically volatile and polarized times.”

In addition to religious leaders, the conference is expected to attract leading researchers, educators, policymakers, practitioners, faith leaders, and other advocates including 1,500 young adult leaders.

“This is not a conference about what CDF is going to do,” Edelman said in an open letter of invitation to the conference. “It is about what you and we are going to do together to stretch ourselves way beyond our current comfort and courage zones, incremental programs, and defensive efforts to hold on to important existing gains.”


Edelman said the conference will “help build the powerful, proactive united voice and transforming movement required to enable all our children to get the quality early childhood foundation, school and stimulating out of school experiences, and comprehensive continuum of support to make the successful transition to adulthood they need and deserve.”

In the midst of a national political campaign, Edelman said, “this conference is not just about what political leaders in any party are going to do in Washington or state capitols, city halls, and county councils. It is about what we are going to push them to do to ensure justice for our voiceless, voteless children and the poor.”

Additional information, including conference registration forms, can be found here.


See Edelman's spoken invitation below:



Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),


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