A Defense for Children: Marian Wright Edelman

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Running Head: A DEFENSE FOR CHILDREN: MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN A Defense for Children: Marian Wright Edelman LaMara Russell Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund III. Leadership Theories a. Authentic Leadership Theory b. Against All Odds: Trait Theory IV. Conclusion V. References Marian Wright Edelman, Child Advocate, eloquently stated, “Children don’t vote but adults who do must stand up and vote for them.

While personal responsibility, moral example, and private charity are crucial, so are jobs, decent wages, child care, health care, clean air, water, and public safety that government must ensure, in collaboration with employers. All the soup kitchens and homeless shelters in the world cannot substitute for community and economic development which provide jobs with decent wages, and dignity. But we will not achieve adequate child and family investments in the U. S. without a massive, moral movement to redirect the leadership and budget priorities of our nation. (Edelman, 1996). Children are a specific demographic in history that has been known to be overlooked or not respected. Children advocates have demanded that respect and have given children a voice in the world. “Marian Wright Edelman is known for her effectiveness and tenacity as a lobbyist, consistent passion for children and justice, and use of statistics and images to demonstrate the extent of a crisis. ” (Spencer, 2002). In 1964, Edelman established the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in Jackson, Mississippi. Working closely with Dr.

Martin Luther King, Edelman became counsel for the Poor People’s March in 1968. That same year, “on a Field Foundation grant, she founded the Washington Research Project of the Southern Center for Public Policy. It would later become the parent body of the Children’s Defense Fund. In 1973, she established the Children’s Defense Fund as “an advocate for the needs of children, with special attention to the poor, minorities, and the disabled. ”(Spencer, 2002). The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a non- profit organization that protects the rights of children in America.

The purpose of the organization is to “lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. ” (CDF, 2010). The CDF works with children on an all levels – federal, state, and local. Their focus is minority and poverty stricken children and also disabled children. Edelman has made it so that children can have a fighting chance in a world that is so harsh. There are many types of leaders in today’s world.

Marian Wright Edelman exudes authentic leadership. Nelson and Quick noted that “authentic leaders have a conscious and well-developed sense of values. ” (ORGB2, p. 199). “They infuse their personal values, beliefs, and relational leadership behavior into the policies, practices, and employee programs within their respective organizations to achieve specific organizational outcomes. ” (Hoffman, 2008). This style of leadership is common amongst leaders that are in roles for activism with passion and personal experiences being the primary motivators.

A theory that I believe is proven wrong just from the role Marian Edelman Wright has played in history is the trait theory. Nelson and Quick explained that one of the focuses of the earlier trait theories was physical attributes. “The physical attributes that were considered were height, weight, physique, energy, health, appearance and even age. ”(ORGB2, p. 188), If this were applied to Marian’s accomplishment she proves to be a phenomenon. Not only were her accomplishments, level of success and impact on history come unexpected, she stated, “I never thought I was breaking a glass ceiling.

I just had to do what I had to do, and it never occurred to me not to. I’ve always hated being hemmed in or seeing anybody being hemmed in. Even when I was the smallest child, I couldn’t bear being told I couldn’t drink at a so-called white drinking fountain. ” (Ruggeri, 2008). References Children’s Defense Fund. (2010). Children Defense Fund’s Mission Statement. Retrieved from www. childrensdefense. org/. Edelman, M. W. (1996). Standing Up for the World’s Children: Leave No Child Behind. Retrieved from http://gos. sbc. du/e/edelman. html. Germain, M. L. (2008, February 20). Traits and Skills theories as the Nexus between Leadership and Expertise: Reality or Fallacy? Academy of Human Resource Development International Research Conference in the Americas. Retrieved from http://www. eric. ed. gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini. jsp? _nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED501636&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED501636. Hofman, R. E. (2008). A conscious-authentic leadership approach in the workplace: Leading from within.

Journal of Leadership Studies, 2: 18–31. doi: 10. 1002/jls. 20043 Nelson, D. &Quick, J. C. (2010-2011). ORGB2. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. Ruggeri, A. (2008, November 19). America’s Best Leaders: Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund. USA NEWS: POLITICS. Retrieved from http://www. usnews. com/news/best-leaders/articles/2008/11/19/americas-best-leaders-marian-wright-edelman-childrens-defense-fund. Spencer, M. R. (2002). Edelman, Marian Wright. Retrieved from http://learningtogive. org/ papers/paper94. html.

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