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Director JJ Abrams Helps Celebrate Marian Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund

41st International Emmy Awards - Press Room

Renowned film and television director JJ Abrams, along with his wife Katie McGrath, a member of the Children Defense Fund board , will be prominent at the annual gala to mark the end of this year’s summer  program organized by the Children’s Defense Fund.

The Children’s Defense Fund, which operates throughout the United States  is a national, non-profit child advocacy organization,  founded by Civil Rights activist Marian Wright Edelman.

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Mrs. Edelman, wife of Peter Edelman, who worked on the  team supporting the assassinated Senator  Robert Kennedy during his 1968 presidential election campaign, is well-known and respected throughout the United States for her unrelenting efforts to lift American children out of the trap of poverty by way of education.

Since its founding in the early Seventies,   the Children’s Defense Fund motto “Leave No Child Behind” has become a symbol of  Mrs Edelman’s mission to improve the plight of underprivileged children, in the words of the organization’s edict to “ensure that every child be given “a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life”.

Marian Wright Edelman’s inspirational efforts as the founder of CDF is an emblem of modern American history, being the first African-American woman ever admitted to the Mississippi Bar, where she later  served as  counsel to the late Martin Luther King, Jr. during his “Poor People’s Campaign”, later going on to direct the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office  in Jackson, Mississippi.

Throughout its more than 40 years of operation, the Children’s Defense Fund has trained generations of college students to serve as teachers for in the organization’s freedom schools, where they are referred to as “Servant Leader Interns.”

Thanks to Mrs. Edelman’s drive and vision, there are now over 100 Freedom Schools operating across 29 states. All of these schools operate  six week long summer school programs where kids within the grades of K-12 are not only taught a planned educational curriculum, but trained in character building skills and encouraged to participate in engaging civic activities.

Almost all of the Freedom schools operated by the Children’s Defense Fund exists thanks to the generous funding of the kind hearted people who wish to play their part in improving the lot of Americans underprivileged children.

Among them are famed Hollywood director JJ Abrams , who will  fund two CDF Freedom Schools this summer,  one of them being held  at Middle College High School at  Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC), which is being operated by the Children’s Defense Fund in partnership with the Community Coalition and the Katie McGrath and JJ Abrams Family Foundation.

As has been the case every year, at the end of the summer program, the Community Coalition and the Children’s Defense Fund combine to organize a gala under the title of ”Beat the Odds” where they take the opportunity to honor five of the most outstanding Los Angeles high school students whose stories of strength and triumph in the face of adversity has acted as an inspiration for their fellow students.

JJ Abrams is well-known for his work in the television and film industries,   either written, produced or directed a number of successful feature films before moving into the world of television in the late 1990s. Among his most recent production collaborations  are the TV series, Lost,  Fringe, Undercovers, Person of Interest and Revolution.  Abrams has also directed a number of top box office films includes two of the Star Trek series, Star Trek in 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013, as well as recently been signed up to  direct Star Wars Episode VII, who which is due to begin shooting next year and will be the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.



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