WASHINGTON, DC — Renowned, lifelong children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman spoke about faith, courage and creativity to high school aged students and adults engaged in social justice activism at the 7th Annual Children of Abraham Youth Leadership Award ceremony and reception on Sunday, April 15. The program is organized by the Fund for the Future of Our Children (FFC) and co-sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry of Georgetown University.
At a time of reduced social concern among younger adults, FFC works to nurture youth’s compassionate impulse to help others. “FFC engages the hearts and minds of our youth to take up the work of healing the world while still in high school so that they continue this Godly mission through college and into adulthood,” said Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University.
“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time,” said Marian Wright Edelman in accepting FFC’s invitation. Founder and president of Children’s Defense Fund, Mrs. Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. She has spent her nearly 50-year career driving and inspiring social change from a moral vision of equality and justice. She will tell stories of how faith, courage and creativity can be resources next generation leaders draw upon to accomplish positive change against difficult odds.
“It is our task to invest in youths’ interfaith understanding by taking compassionate action together,” said Avideh Shashaani, founder and president of FFC. High school students discussed their FFC Youth Leadership Award-winning projects launched in response to the compassionate and courageous examples of three great women of the Abrahamic faiths who were “Present at the Beginning”—the mother of Moses, Yocheved; Mary, mother of Jesus; and Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad.
The five recipients are:
Sarah Ashiqueali, of Cooper City, FL – Will use the money to educate expecting mothers and new mothers in Pakistan on basic health care
Nike Awotunde, of Fulton, MD – Will help to supply the Oyan Grammar School in Nigeria with donated equipment for the science lab.
Lanre Faderin, of Ellicott City, MD – Will help construct a fruit and vegetable stand in the three Food Bank Gardens in Howard County, MD.
Ogechi Nwodim, of Baltimore, MD – Will host an inter-school volleyball tournament, with proceeds to benefit the work of Women for Women International in Nigeria.
Rachel Solomon, of Rockville, MD – will work with an existing group, Social Action For Everyone (SAFE) to host clothing drives and regular volunteers at Interfaith Work’s Clothing Center in Montgomery County.
Capping this afternoon of multi-generational leadership for social change, Mrs. Edelman gave FFC’s inaugural “Faith in Action” award to Mary Campbell Cosby, co-founder of the social justice project based Church of the Saviour, active in DC since the late 1940s.
Fund for the Future of Our Children envisions today’s youth as tomorrow’s leaders for peace. Its mission is to nurture these future leaders, trusting deeply in their creative vision.