The statistics are so grim they hardly make sense:
- Every 2 hours in America a child is killed by firearms.- Every 4 hours a child commits suicide.
- Every 5 hours a child dies from abuse or neglect.
And there are more statistics: about infant mortality, school drop-out rates, child arrests, babies born into poverty, the high turnover of child-care workers. It all adds up, says a new coalition of child advocates, to hundreds of thousands of children who are living and dying in pain.
As the 1996 presidential election gets closer, "every American who cares about children must stand up and be counted," says Marian Wright Edelman, president of Stand For Children.
Edelman, who is also president of the Children's Defense Fund, is the force behind a national Stand For Children Day.
It's sort of a Million Man March with a bigger focus. Edelman hopes to involve anyone who cares about children - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, educators.
She hopes that as many of these supporters as are able will converge on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, June 1. No politicians will be invited to speak, she promises. But they will be spoken to.
"Stand for Children Day will make clear to every candidate and officeholder that they need to help and not hinder families struggling to raise moral, healthy and educated children," says Edelman.
It's a time for drawing a line in the sand "that no political, corporate or cultural leader dare cross" - a line that says "we will do no harm to children," she says.
At least six Utahns are planning to attend the June 1 rally, according to Salt Laker Erin Trenbeath-Murray.
To give added emphasis to Utah's support of children, there will also be a Stand for Children rally on Wednesday, May 29, on the steps of the Utah State Capitol. The rally will begin at 10 a.m.
"You don't have to have kids to stand for children's rights," says Trenbeath-Murray. "Eventually all these kids will grow up and be running the country."
For more information, call Trenbeath-Murray at 359-2444, or the Stand For Children Washington, D.C. office, (202) 234-0095.