Stand for Children Day is honored annually on June 1st to raise awareness about the issues youth in our country must often face – issues that we, as adults, can help combat. Target themes include education and literacy, racial justice, optimal healthcare services, and sufficient childcare and after-school provisions. In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on ensuring that schools are well-funded and teaching up-to-date curriculum using modern teaching methods.
According to Stand for Children, more than 1.2 million students drop out of school annually. Only 1 in 10 children who grow up in poverty graduate from college, and almost 50% of low-income students do not graduate from high school at the standard age of 18. These are startling facts that cannot be ignored.
Since its inception, the Stand for Children organization has produced admirable results: over 70,000 books have been distributed, hundreds of playgrounds have been renovated, and thousands of children have been enrolled in healthcare. They have also advocated to policy-makers and collected $6.7 billion of investments in education.
The first Stand for Children Day event was in 1996, when over 300,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to form the largest demonstration for children in U.S. history. Civil rights advocate Rosa Parks gave a speech, stating, “If I can sit down for justice, you can stand up for children.” With the success and publicity of the demonstration driving them forward, Jonah Edelman and Eliza Leighton founded the Stand for Children organization.
Over the next two years, Stand for Children led several more rallies across the country before focusing on improving children-related policies at the local, state, and national levels. Today’s Stand for Children Leadership Center is a nonprofit organization that trains parents and other community members invested in children’s development to reach out to elected officials and spark long-lasting change. Stand for Children’s national campaigns include: the Center for Antiracist Education, the Center for High School Success, Learn from History, Teach Kindness, and Home Visit Partnerships. It is one of the foremost grassroots education reform groups in the country.
You can join the movement by donating to a children-centered organization, petitioning authorities for a meaningful change, and voting for policies that will improve the lives of youth at your local, state, and national levels. A related organization we support at eco18 is the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative, which “seeks to ensure that children’s rights are placed at the centre of environmental decision-making and action,” with the ultimate goal of “secur[ing] international recognition of children’s fundamental right to a safe and healthy environment.” Visit Stand for Children’s website to learn more about how you can support children’s rights where you live.