History of The Interfaith Children’s Movement
During the summer of 2001, a small group of child advocates in Atlanta began talking with the national child advocacy group, The Children’s Defense Fund, about sponsoring an interfaith Children’s Sabbath Celebration in October, 2001 in Atlanta.
The planners held the deep conviction that the faith communities of metropolitan Atlanta, working in concert, could bring the compassion and commitment of faith communities to the arena of the services, laws, and public policies that shape children’s futures.
“Let’s do it,” they agreed. “We should have a Call to Action Prayer Breakfast first. This effort needs to be grounded in and inspired by prayer.”
A planning committee was formed. Six planners became a dozen, and the dozen quickly multiplied to four dozen! Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, agreed to come to Atlanta to speak at the Call to Action Breakfast.
On a beautiful fall morning, Tuesday, September 11, 400 child advocates and religious leaders heard Mrs. Edelman give the call to action address. Together those present reflected on the devastation that many children in Georgia face daily and pledged to take action to end their despair. Upon leaving, the attendees heard the news of another kind of devastation that befell the nation during the prayer breakfast.
A Movement was born. The Interfaith Children’s Movement of Metropolitan Atlanta blossomed. An interfaith Steering Committee formed to lead the group. The Barton Child Policy and Law Clinic at Emory University provided staff support, and the Freddie Mac Foundation provided a small grant to support program development. In 2003, the first Executive Director was hired, and the organization’s structure and reach were extended.
Today, ICM is making an impact – advocating, educating, mobilizing and inspiring – through the energetic efforts of our small staff and volunteers throughout metro Atlanta’s faith community.
In January, 2008, the Interfaith Children’s Movement voted to extend its focus to faith communities all over Georgia. The facts bear witness that children across the state are suffering, and it is incumbent upon the faith community at-large to come to their aid. Likewise, it is clear that elected officials and policy makers live in every county in Georgia and that in order to realize the implementation of wise children’s policies, concerted voices and efforts for children must come from all across the state. The initiative to “Grow the Movement” statewide is now underway.
ICM holds many aspirations for our children. We believe the work to improve social inequities and achieve justice for all children never ends. New challenges surface all the time. Yet, for every new adversity, there exists a new opportunity for each of us to take a stand and do what is right so children can grow up happy, healthy, loved and free from unnecessary harm.