Realizing a dream for our children
7/22/2019, 10:36 p.m.
By MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN
Children’s Defense Fund
Next week, clergy, seminarians, religious educators, community organizers, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates in the intergenerational, interracial, multiethnic, ecumenical community pursuing justice for our nation’s children will come together at the Children’s Defense Fund’s Haley Farm in Tennessee for the 25th Annual CDF Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
The theme for this year’s gathering is “Guide Our Feet: Pursuing Justice for All God’s Children.” As we focus on the many urgent challenges facing children and families right now, especially poor children, those caught up in the mass criminalization of children of color and children at our borders, in the words of the beloved spiritual, we will ask God to guide our feet as we seek to make our nation fit, safe and just for all children, because we don’t want to run this race in vain.
Several years ago, South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu sent Proctor attendees a video message. An outspoken defender of human rights and campaigner for justice for the oppressed, Bishop Tutu is a prophetic voice in our world today, revered for his commitment to fighting poverty, racism and all forms of discrimination against any human beings and his dedication to reshaping our conversations about peace, equality and forgiveness.
He shared this timeless exhortation for pursuing justice: “Justice needs champions. Good leaders with the ability to identify the challenges and the tenacity to address them. Good leaders driven not by personal ambition, but by an innate desire to improve the circumstances of the human family and the human condition.
“We inhabit a moral universe. Goodness, righteousness and fairness matter. We are born to love – all of us, including Black, Latino, and White [children] and everyone else. As members of the human family – God’s family – we were created with equal, infinite worth for interdependence. In conditions of harmony, equity and common purpose, the whole family thrives. God does not use strong-armed tactics to ensure justice is done. God empowers us to do the right thing. It is up to us – you, and you, and you and me.”
Bishop Tutu then shared what he believes is God’s dream for all human children: “And God says, I have a dream. I have a dream that all of my children will discover that they belong in one family – my family, the human family – a family in which there are no outsiders; all are held in the embrace of the one whose love will never let us go; the one who says that each one of us is of incredible worth, that each one of us is precious to God because each of us has their name written on the palms of God’s hands. And God says, there are no outsiders – Black, White, red, yellow, short, tall, young, old, rich, poor, gay, lesbian, straight – everyone. All belong. And God says, I have only you to help me realize my dream. Help me.”