Trinity Washington University will celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States with a festive luncheon, “In Celebration of Community Organizers,” on Thursday, January 15, at 12:00 noon. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will give the keynote address. “The luncheon will honor Trinity friends and colleagues who make the world a better place through their service to those in need,” said President Patricia McGuire. “We have invited leaders of nonprofit and service organizations, educators, foundation leaders and public officials to join us in this celebration.” Prior to the luncheon, service organizations will have information tables where Trinity students can learn about volunteer and internship opportunities. The luncheon is for members of the Trinity campus community and invited guests. Seating is limited so students, faculty and staff must RSVP in advance using the convenient online form. Please note that guests of members of the campus community cannot be accommodated.
“We wanted to mark this historic inauguration with a special celebration that recognizes those who make the Washington region — and this world — a better place by helping others,” said President McGuire. “As a university that is committed to making education accessible, and that has thousands of graduates who are in education and the nonprofit sector, we thought that a celebration of community organizers is the right theme. We are deeply honored to have Marian Wright Edelman as our keynote speaker. She has done so much to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and their families through her unswerving advocacy. She is a great role model for our students.”
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Leave No Child Behind® mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children’s Defense Fund. For two years she served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in l973 began CDF.
Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received many honorary degrees and awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. She received an honorary degree from Trinity and gave the Commencement address in 1985. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include eight books: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children; Stand for Children; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; I’m Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; and I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children. Her latest book The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation released in bookstores in September 2008.
She is a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation, the Association to Benefit Children, and City Lights School and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Marian Wright Edelman is married to Peter Edelman, a professor at Georgetown Law School. They have three sons, Joshua, Jonah, and Ezra, two granddaughters, Ellika and Zoe, and two grandsons, Elijah and Levi.
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