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Poor child gives her 'State of Union' address to task force.

When NLC's "Task Force On The Future of Youth in America's Cities and Towns" meets during the Congressional City conference next week, it will hear another kind of "State of the Union" address. However, this version is likely to be much more moving and compelling because it will be from the eyes of America's poor children. It will be delivered by Eisha Palmer.

Eisha is an 11 year old resident of Prince George's County, Md., adjacent to Washington, D.C. The day before President George Bush delivered his "State of the Union" address, Eisha Palmer appeared on a Washington, D.C.-area radio station to broadcaster her own "State of the Union Address."

"If you could hear us in our darkened rooms at night," Eisha said, "you would hear our screams. Because we didn't know being a poor child in the United States was going to be so very hard.

We weren't born to do poorly in school. Or to suffer bad health. Or to take drugs. Or to catch sexually transmitted diseases. Or to kill or be killed in the streets of America. When we were born, we were beautiful, happy, smart and good."

Her speech goes on to question why families can't live together like families while receiving public assistance and why as a child, she and the nation's other poor children are unable to play outside of their homes because of their parents' fears of what they might see or what might happen to them.

Eisha challenges the President and the Congress to "look deep into the eyes of a poor American child." In those eyes, says Eisha, you will find America's greatest tragegy.

NLC's Youth Task Force was created last year by Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, NLC immediate past president, because of his growing concerns about the cycle of poverty that grips many of America's cities and towns, and the resulting impact on youth.

The Task Force is chaired by Carolyn Long Banks, Councilmember, Atlanta, Ga., and has held two meetings since its establishment. One of its early recommendations to the NLC Board of Directors was that children and families should be an on-going major priority of NLC.

The Task Force will meet during the Congressional City's Conference on Sunday, March 8th at 3:00 p.m. In addition to Eisha Plamer's "State of the Union" address, the agenda for the meeting includes a discussion of a survey of the Head Start program; how to "localize" the recommendations made by the National Commission on Children; and setting an agenda for future Task Force activities.
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Title Annotation:Eisha Palmer will address the 'Task Force on the Future of Youth in America's Cities and Towns' during the 1992 Congressional-City Conference
Author:McCloud, Thom
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 2, 1992
Previous Article:International unit to meet at March conference.
Next Article:Bush tax cuts rejected; House passes alternate.

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