Truth is Truth

‼️💥 Inspiring, huh? Here are more quotes attributed to Marian Wright Edelman: We have found that great people are able to make the connection between great philosophy and tangible action in the real world and the lives of real people every day. We simply aspire to that as a goal too. ~ Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

“Children must have at least one person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, a friend. It could be you. You never know when a little love, a little support will plant a small seed of hope.”

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.”

“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”

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

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

“Character, self-discipline, determination, attitude and service are the substance of life.”

“It is so important not to let ourselves off the hook or to become apathetic or cynical by telling ourselves that nothing works or makes a difference. Every day, light your small candle…. The inaction and actions of many human beings over a long time contributed to the crises our children face, and it is the action and struggle of many human beings over time that will solve them with God’s help. So every day, light your small candle.”

“Be a good ancestor. Stand for something bigger than yourself. Add value to the Earth during your sojourn.”

“You can achieve much in life if you don’t mind doing the work and giving someone else the credit.”

“It’s time for greatness – not for greed. It’s a time for idealism – not ideology. It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action.”

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

“The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people’s children.”

“Investing in [children] is not a national luxury or a national choice. It’s a national necessity. If the foundation of your house is crumbling, you don’t say you can’t afford to fix it while you’re building astronomically expensive fences to protect it from outside enemies. The issue is not are we going to pay – it’s are we going to pay now, upfront, or are we going to pay a whole lot more later on.”

“Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.”

“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”

“You didn’t have a choice about the parents you inherited, but you do have a choice about the kind of parent you will be.”

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”

“No time is ever wasted if you have a book along as a companion.”

“It is utterly exhausting being Black in America – physically, mentally, and emotionally. While many minority groups and women feel similar stress, there is no respite or escape from your badge of color.”

“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back – but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.”

“Don’t just dream about grandiose acts of doing good. Every day do small ones, that add up over time to positive patterns.”

“Never let us confuse what is legal with what is right. Everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal, but it was not right.”

“Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.”

“What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence… I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.”

“When Jesus Christ asked little children to come to him, he didn’t say only rich children, or White children, or children with two-parent families, or children who didn’t have a mental or physical handicap. He said, Let all children come unto me.”

“It really takes a community to raise children, no matter how much money one has. Nobody can do it well alone. And it’s the bedrock security of community that we and our children need.”

“Dr. King used to say, ‘I was sitting in the back of the bus, but my mind was always upfront.’ Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. You aim high and you work very hard and now I think it’s clear that you can be anything you want to.”

“We’re spending, on average, three times more for prison than for public-school pupils. That’s the dumbest investment policy. It doesn’t make us safer.”

“You’d better stay determined because that’s how our ancestors got us where we are.”

“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.”

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“We are not going to deal with the violence in our communities, our homes, and our nation, until we learn to deal with the basic ethic of how we resolve our disputes and to place an emphasis on peace in the way we relate to one another.”

“This act will leave a moral blot on his presidency”

“There are levels of outrage, and there’s a point at which you can’t be trespassed upon anymore.”

“If we think we have ours and don’t owe any time or money or effort to help those left behind, then we are a part of the problem rather than the solution to the fraying social fabric that threatens all Americans and the very dream that is America.”

“Understand and be confident that each of us can make a difference by caring and acting in small as well as big ways.”

“It is the responsibility of every adult… to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.”

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

“You are in charge of your own attitude whatever others do or circumstances you face. The only person you can control is yourself… worry more about your attitude than your aptitude or lineage.”

“The outside world told black kids when I was growing up that we weren’t worth anything. But our parents said it wasn’t so, and our churches and our schoolteachers said it wasn’t so. They believed in us, and we, therefore, believed in ourselves.”

“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living – the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goals.”

“I feel very lucky to have grown up having interaction with adults who were making change but who were far from perfect beings. That feeling of not being paralyzed by your incredible inadequacy as a human being, which I feel every day, is a part of the legacy that I’ve gotten from so many of the adult elders.”

“Don’t assume a door is closed; push on it. Don’t assume if it was closed yesterday that it is closed today. Don’t ever stop learning and improving your mind. If you do, you’re going to be left behind.”

“Education is a precondition to survival in America today.”

“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.”

“There should not be one new dime in tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as long as millions of children in America are poor, hungry, uneducated and without health coverage.”

“You were born God’s original. Try not to become someone’s copy.”

“Be grateful for good breaks and kind favors but don’t count on them.”

“Why are guns the only unregulated consumer products in America? We regulate toy guns and teddy bears, but we do not regulate a product that kills 4,600 children a year.”

“Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.”

“In every seed of good there is always a piece of bad.”

“Education remains one of the black community’s most enduring values. It is sustained by the belief that freedom and education go hand in hand, that learning and training are essential to economic quality and independence.”

“The legacy I want to leave is a child-care system that says that no kid is going to be left alone or left unsafe.”

“There are so many noises and pulls and competing demands in our lives that many of us never find out who we are. Learn to be quiet enough to hear the sound of the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in other people.”

“Each American must remember and help America remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important than the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society.”

“You really can change the world if you care enough.”

“It is [children] who are God’s presence, promise and hope for mankind.”

“Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for their children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.”

“Service is the rent we pay for living.”

“Whoever said anybody has a right to give up?”

“The civil-rights movement was completely impossible to achieve. But look at what ordinary people were able to do because they were willing to sacrifice their lives to stay with it. They didn’t expect a political process to respond to them. They made the political process respond to them. To say “It’s so bad I won’t bother” is to give up on your children and give up on your future.”

“No one, Eleanor Roosevelt said, can make you feel inferior without your consent. Never give it.”

ABOUT Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, civil rights activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, has dedicated her life to those who cannot always lift themselves up. Edelman obtained a law degree at Yale and worked in Mississippi, becoming the first Black woman to be admitted to that state’s bar.

As a leader with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Edelman helped coordinate the Poor People’s Campaign after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. She founded the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s, to apply pressure on the federal government to help poor children and to coordinate nationwide activities to help children.

Considered the nation’s most powerful children’s lobby, CDF secured the 1990 Act for Better Child Care, bringing more than $3 billion into daycare facilities and other programs. Many consider this law the first federal government acknowledgment that children matter.

With millions of American children living in poverty, Edelman continues her advocacy, focusing on expanding Head Start, health care and support for homeless children. In l993 Edelman published her book, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Biography courtesy of The National Women’s Hall of Fame.