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Marian Wright Edelman Still Standing With and For Children

Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder, Children's Defense Fund; talking with What's The 411TV's Courtney Rashon Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder, Children's Defense Fund; talking with What's The 411TV's Courtney Rashon

Marian Wright Edelman: "Listen to the children, they are the stars tonight."

What's The 411TV's Courtney Rashon had the good fortune of speaking with Marian Wright Edelman, President and Founder, Children's Defense Fund-New York (CDF-NY); at the organization's annual Beat the Odds® Gala—an event that celebrates local students who have overcome exceptional adversities along their path to success—at The Pierre in New York City.

In addition to recognizing five Beat the Odds® scholars, the event honored renowned stage and screen actors LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson, and business leader Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO of TIAA-CREF, for their longstanding commitment to CDF's Leave No Child Behind® mission.

This year's Beat the Odds® scholars include Aesron Jeremiah, 17, (William Maxwell High School in Brownsville), Elham Chowdhury, 17, (Bronx High School of Science in Norwood), Ruben Suazo, 17, (Leadership and Public Service High School in East Flatbush), Sashagale Moore, 18, (Queens Preparatory Academy in Jamaica), and Shirleyka Hector, 17, (International High School at Lafayette in Canarsie).

The Children's Defense Fund 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. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by individual donations, foundation, corporate and government grants.