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Marian Wright Edelman Quotes


Marian Wright Edelman
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Marian Wright Edelman
  • Born: 6th June 1939, Bennettsville, South Carolina, U.S.
  • Alma mater: Sorbonne University Spelman College and Yale Law School (J.D.)
  • Occupation: Lawyer and children's rights activist
  • NGO: In 1973 she was the founder of the non profit organisation The Childrens Defense Fund which focuses on children's advocacy
  • Inspired by: Marian drew inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement and it motivated her to create the CDF with the target of overhauling federal policies concerning child welfare and education
  • Major awards: Barnard Medal of Distinction (1985), Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism (1988), Community of Christ International Peace Award (1995) and The Presidential Medal of Freedom (2000)
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"No person has the right to rain on your dreams"

Marian Wright Edelman

"I've been struck by the upside-down priorities of the juvenile justice system. We are willing to spend the least amount of money to keep a kid at home, more to put him in a foster home and the most to institutionalize him"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Our children are telling us they want to live and desperately crying for adults to do something. Instead a child or teen is killed with a gun every two hours and 34 minutes in our gun saturated nation"

Marian Wright Edelman

"When will we act and provide the common sense gun violence prevention measures our children deserve?"

Marian Wright Edelman

"The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to"

Marian Wright Edelman

"A nation that does not stand for its children does not stand for anything and will not stand tall in the future"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time"

Marian Wright Edelman

"We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Parents are now adding bulletproof backpacks to their back-to-school lists"

Marian Wright Edelman

"If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much"

Marian Wright Edelman

"It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Will our nation ever decide to prioritize children’s lives over guns?"

Marian Wright Edelman

"If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Be a good ancestor. Stand for something bigger than yourself"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Be real. Try to do what you say, say what you mean, and be what you seem"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Don't feel entitled to anything you didn't sweat and struggle for"

Marian Wright Edelman

"You cannot be what you cannot see"

Marian Wright Edelman

"Protect children, not guns"

Marian Wright Edelman

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Marian Wright Edelman Biography

From a young age Marian Wright Edelman was taught the importance of helping others and it is a discipline that has become her gift to world as she has devoted her whole life to the service of others.

The 1960's civil rights movement inspired her to become a lawyer and Edelman was the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar association of the U.S. state of Mississippi as she thought she needed that skillset so she could make more of a difference in improving government policies for the betterment of the people.

In 1967 Edelman was instrumental in helping to set up a Robert Kennedy tour of the Mississippi slums and in doing so she also met her husband to be Peter Edelman who was working as an assistant to Kennedy.

Edelman's experiences led to her founding the CDF in 1973 and she has now served nearly half a century as its president and founder where her presence has been felt all the way up on Capitol Hill as she has affected the course of childrens lives with her influence on foster care policy.



She has launched many campaigns such as "Leave No Child Behind" in 1992 and the "Stand For Children" campaign that attracted 200,000 people to a march in support of childrens rights. The greatest gifts you can give are your time and energy and such is the impact Marian Wright Edelman's lifetime of devotion to the service of others her words take on a great meaning and politicians sit up and listen.

From selfless people come words of wisdom so this is my compilation of 18 of the best Marian Wright Edelman quotes

Quotes About Marian Wright Edelman

Hilary Clinton paid a great tribute to her contribution to society: "I have been inspired by Marian Wright Edelman since I first met her in 1969. She has spent her life as a crusading legal activist devoted to children, service and social justice. Watching and working with her is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me"

The director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson was inspired to say: "Over the last half-century, no one has done more to help the most vulnerable children in America than Marian Wright Edelman.... Her leadership and tenure at the Children’s Defense Fund has created rights and services that have aided millions of families. We owe her an enormous debt"

The diplomat Carl Rowan speculated in 1993: "Don't count out Marian Wright Edelman, because there is talk that President Clinton may want to shock the nation by putting a real black on the Supreme Court"


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