Lord I can’t preach like Martin Luther King, Jr.
or turn a poetic phrase like Maya Angelou
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others to move our children forward in this time of Thanksgiving.
I don’t have Harriet Tubman’s courage
or Eleanor Roosevelt’s political skills
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others to save all our children no matter how hard the challenge.
I cannot sing like Marian Anderson or Fannie Lou Hamer
or organize like Ella Baker and Bayard Rustin
but I care and am willing to serve and stand up with others until all our children get health care.
I am not holy like Archbishop Tutu, forgiving like President Mandela
or disciplined like Mahatma Gandhi
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until child poverty is abolished.
I am not brilliant like Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois or Elizabeth Cady Stanton
or as eloquent as Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until every child has
an equal and quality education.
I don’t have Mother Teresa’s saintliness
or The Dalai Lama’s or Dorothy Day’s or Cesar Chavez’s gentle tough spirit
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others until no child is hungry
or homeless in rich America.
God it is not as easy as the 60’s to frame an issue and forge a solution
but we will keep trying until we succeed because we care and are willing to serve and stand together with others to protect our children.
My mind and body are not so swift as in youth and my energy comes in spurts
but I care and am willing to serve and stand with others and organize and do whatever is necessary to protect our children from gun violence.
Some will think I’m so young nobody will listen
I feel invisible and hopeless and I’m not sure what to say or do
but you can say I care and am willing to serve and
work with others to break up the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.
Some say we can’t see or hear well, don’t speak good English, stutter sometimes
and get real scared, standing up before others
but let’s take a stand and do whatever we can to organize with others to save all our children.
God, in this time of Thanksgiving
use me as You will to save Your children today and tomorrow and to keep building
a nation and world fit for children and where no child is left behind and every child is welcome and valued.
Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission 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. For more information go to staging.childrensdefense.org.
Mrs. Edelman’s Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.