CDF national conference sparks a movement for change

September 6, 2012

More than 3,200 individuals from across the country came together in Cincinnati at the CDF national conference to address critical issues facing children and the poor in our communities.   The conference was intended to not just “talk” about the issues but to act on them. Participants were provided tools and resources to return home and create a movement of support for children among their family, friends, campuses and congregations.

Participants heard from national experts and community advocates about policies and promising practices that can improve the lives of children and youth.  The conference plenary sessions focused on issues ranging from child poverty, education, health, zero-tolerance discipline policies, and strategies to help children succeed in school. Speakers also addressed the growing income and wealth inequality in our country, racial disparities and context for this year’s state and national elections.

The plenary speakers included courageous civil rights leaders such as Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, James Lawson and Dolores Huerta along with current leaders such as Geoffrey Canada, President & CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc.; Dr. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Michelle Alexander, legal scholar and author of The New Jim Crow; and Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Pastor, Trinity Church of Christ. See videos. The conference concluded with inspiring remarks from Dr. Maya Angelou, who received CDF’s lifetime award for helping children “Beat The Odds.”

More than 100 people attended the conference from Minnesota, 65 of whom were young adults ages 18 to 30 representing community based action teams. The youth participated in an intensive learning track during the conference designed to strengthen their leadership, advocacy and community organizing skills.

CDF-MN is convening both youth and adult conference participants this fall to develop specific action plans to mobilize others in their communities.  We are excited about the creative opportunities to build a strong base of new advocates across generations and to unite around a shared goal to pursue justice for children.  Stay tuned for more!