“Service was as much as part of my upbringing as eating breakfast and going to school. It isn’t something that you do in your spare time. It was clear that it was the very purpose of life. In that context, you’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying, to keep doing the best you can every day….

… The outside world told black kids when I was growing up that we weren’t worth anything. It told us we were second class, that poor kids weren’t valued. But our parents said it wasn’t so and our churches and our school teachers said it wasn’t so. They believed in us and we, therefore, believed in ourselves….”


1995 Marian Wright Edleman became the first black woman admitted to the bar in Mississippi. She is the founder, president and highly effective spokesperson of the Children

“… Ordinary women of grace are, in a sense, my real role models. What always struck me is how unbitter they were. They had the capacity to keep struggling. I think that is a message that this quick-fix culture needs, this culture that thinks things should be solved instantly or cheaply. They’re always searching for cheap grace….

… The issue for me when I moved to Washington in 1968 was how could one provide a countervoice to the powerful in order to see poor people have a chance to help themselves and their children.

In our society we have made a distinction between our kids and other folks’ children because of the history of race and class. Because of racial discrimination, and because we tend to judge the poor, we have been willing to punish the children for their parents….

… We lose about ten thousand children every year to poverty. That’s more kids over a five-year period than we lost in the Vietnam war. But where is the outrage?…

… Children cannot eat rhetoric and they cannot be sheltered by commissions. I don’t want to see another commission that studies the needs of kids. We need to help them.

I am an outsider. I am not a linear person. I couldn’t work within a government structure. What I want to do is see that this country feeds hungry kids. They legacy I want to leave is a child-care system that says that no kid is going to be left alone and left unsafe.”

Marian Wright Edelman, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

I wrote this blog through a pool of tears.

Being a pastor’s kid from South Carolina, who did not realize until her late teens that loving your neighbor was something that so many who profess to follow Jesus believe is a suggestion He made for us to do in our spare time if we can have complete control over the offering, it does not birth too much discomfort or is too costly for us, our family or church community.

Marian Wright Edelman’s words touch places deep within my mind and soul.

No strength or power really to shield either three.

I danced between the title “Ordinary Women of Grace” and “Where is the Outrage?” all morning, and after reflecting upon my journey over the past couple of years and entering into the stories of children of all races & classes born into stories not of their own choosing, I decided upon the title you see.

The titled question haunts me as I ponder the words of this phenomenal woman. Marian Wright Edelman refuses to be silent as she continues to fight for a world where children are not punished or place at a disadvantage because of the stories they are born into, while some children live with privilege, advantage and a sense of entitlement because of the stories they were born into and privileges those stories afford them in our country and world.

Her fight sparks my imagination, reminds me of how much I have yet to learn and points me toward my responsibilities.

The poem for this posting is refusing to be forced into existence today.

The only words I can muster up are these…

May any sense of outrage at the injustices & inequalities that exist
in the caring of our children in the USA and Global Community,
lead to steady struggling hands of grace
working together to co-create a better world for all our children–
not just  for some.

 

Advertisements