Wednesday, May 25, 2011


On May 4, a delegation of 70 parents and providers representing Community Voices went to Sacramento for the annual Stand for Children advocacy day, sponsored by Parent Voices. There were a total of 780 parents, providers and children at the Capitol that marched and rallied with the loud and unified message: “Child Care Keeps California Working!” The Community Voices delegation was made up of advocates representing Crystal Stairs, Inc., Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), Center for Children and Family Services (CCFS), Options, Connections and Pathways, representing parents, providers and children from Los Angeles County.

Stand for Children is an annual event that brings together child care advocates from all around the state to the Capitol to advocate for child care. This year’s focus was protecting child care funding from further cuts and advocating for smart revenue solutions to close the budget shortfall. Delegations carried the message that the State of California cannot rely on cuts alone to balance the budget. In the current budget, $720 million in child care reductions were made, and $500 million was approved and signed into law this past March.

Community Voices was an integral part of these advocacy efforts by joining families and children on the march to the capitol and the rally that preceded it where parent speakers from Butte, Los Angeles, Fresno, Marin and San Francisco Counties joined Assemblyman Ammiano, Assemblywoman Bonilla, Assemblywoman Mitchell, Assemblyman Swanson and Senator Evans. Maria Salinas, a parent advocate and member of Community Voices at Crystal Stairs, spoke at the rally on behalf of the Los Angeles County delegation. Maria Salinas described the need for a budget with revenue solutions to prevent an all-cuts budget, reminding the group that “we need a sensible budget that protects from further harm to families and children.”

Child care advocates received support from several state legislators who spoke at the rally on the steps of the Capitol. The gathering was especially energized by encouraging words from Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Assembly Budget Sub-Committee on Health and Human Services:

“I hope your wings are strong. I congratulate Parent Voices and Community Voices on all you have done up until now. You have shown passion and perseverance. Your advocacy has been critical in saving Stage 3 and preserving state investment in early care and education. Our efforts must now be redoubled to save access to child care and ultimately to ensure that a safe healthy childhood with access to early care and education is a right instead of a privilege in America.”

Following the rally, parents and providers made visits to legislators asking them to support the Governor’s revenue package, sharing how additional cuts to programs would negatively impact their constituents. Community Voices members visited the offices of both Democrats and Republicans, including Assemblyman Antony Portantino, Assemblyman Mike Eng, Assemblyman Charles Calderon, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Assemblyman Paul Cook; Senator Bob Huff, Senator Carol Liu, Senator Ron Calderon, and Senator Ed Hernandez.

This was a very successful event. Following visits with the legislators, Community Voices members headed back to Los Angeles County. These parents and providers are even more energized to continue their advocacy efforts back at home. For more information about getting involved with local child care advocacy efforts, please contact:

Submitted by Fred Munoz and Nicole J. Jones, Crystal Stairs, Inc

Photos from the Stand for Children March and Rally

Community Voices Members Marching Through Sacramento

Making Our Way to the State Capitol

Community Voice Members Carrying Signs and Chanting Along March Route

1Child Care Advocates Line the Streets of Sacramento

Parents, Providers AND Children Are Making Their Voices Heard

Community Voices Members Rallying in Front of Capitol

Maria Salinas Speaking Out for LA County Parents

Community Voices Members at Rally

Community Voices Members Head Back to LA County

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