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Edelman and Keillor Headline March for Kids at the State Capitol Sunday

October 6, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - This weekend, Dr. Marian Wright Edelman and Garrison Keillor headline Sunday's "10-10-10 March for Children and Youth" at the Minnesota State Capitol. Organizers say the event, and others around the state, are intended to increase awareness and advocate for change on ten major issues that affect Minnesota's children.

Jim Koppel, director of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Minnesota chapter, says timing of the event is intentional because children's needs often get lost among the high-profile issues that emerge at election time.

"Children are truly our future, and our politicians, political leaders and our public policies have to reflect that value."

Koppel says the event was created and organized by young adults involved in CDF's Young Advocate Leadership Training and is the brainchild of one of those advocates, Darrell Young. Young grew up in North Minneapolis, attended Patrick Henry High School, and says he's seen firsthand the challenges facing his peers.

"There are so many things going on in our community that we can't just turn our backs on them anymore. We can't walk down the street with these shades on, like we don't see what's going on. Now, it's time to take off the shades and actually do something about it."

Young says he'd like to see more young people learn the importance of voting - and make the connection that, by voting, adults act as voices for children.

"They can't vote, so we've got to make sure we hear their voice and be advocates for them. We've got to make sure that they are the top of the agenda, regardless of who's in the position to make decisions for our young people."

He's encouraged by how quickly the event has picked up momentum - both here, and around the country at colleges that are hosting viewing parties or their own 10-10-10 events. Young's his daughter turns three next week; he says he wants to ensure a brighter future for her, as well as all of Minnesota's children.

To date, Sen. Al Franken and gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton and Tom Horner have confirmed attendance; Koppel says CDF hopes for a turnout of at least 10,000 Minnesotans. Issues highlighted at the event include early childhood and K-12 education, child welfare, poverty, housing, juvenile justice, youth violence and children in immigrant families.

The rally starts at 2:00 pm on Sunday, Oct. 10. For more information, visit

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN