On March 28 parents, children, educators, coalition members, and advocates from across the state gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol for Advocacy for Children Day—a day dedicated to showing support for investments in early childhood care and education.
Here’s 5 Highlights from the Advocacy for Children Day Rally:
Story Time with Legislators. The event kicked off in the rotunda by rally emcee, Andre Dukes, Senior Director of Collective Impact – Early Childhood at the Northside Achievement Zone. Just before the program was underway, legislators stopped by the rotunda to spend some time reading books with the kids in attendance.
Parent Perspectives. A parent from the Northside Achievement Zone spoke about the life-changing impact of an early learning scholarship for her 4-year-old son. Thanks to the scholarship, he could attend a high-quality early childhood education program—which made a difference for the whole family. “I have the peace of mind knowing that [my son] is learning in a safe environment while I’m at work,” she said. “I’m confident that he’ll be able to pursue his dreams and reach his full potential.”
Importance of Early Childhood Investments. Acooa Ellis, SVP of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way and Co-Chair of the MinneMinds Coalition welcomed attendees and stressed the importance of early childhood investments.
“With ninety percent of brain development occurring by age five, we know the best path to a child’s success is high-quality, culturally relevant childcare and education,” she said. “In fact, there’s no better investment that we could make in our collective future as a state.”
Earlier in the day, advocates gathered at the 2019 Early Childhood Legislative Briefing to learn more about early childhood policy priorities and legislative action moving forward this session. Topics included early learning scholarships, growing the early childhood workforce and the importance of parent voices in education decisions. You can click here to view the information and presentations shared.
Bipartisan Support for Early Childhood Education. Several legislators stopped by the rally, including Senator Carla Nelson, Senator Patricia Torres Ray, Senator Chuck Wiger, Senator Jerry Relph, and Representative Dave Pinto. Each legislator expressed their support for early childhood education investments and thanked the kids and adults in attendance for showing up and lending their voice to this important issue.
“It’s important to have programs that reflect who you are, that reflect your culture, that reflect your language and all of these beautiful aspects that you bring to the community in this diverse state,” said Senator Patricia Torres Ray. “Thank you for being here and for continuing to advocate for children.”
Call to Action. The rally closed with a call to action from Ann Mulholland, Executive Vice President for the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations and Co-Chair of the MinneMinds Coalition. “Every single kid, no matter where you live – whether it’s Mankato, or St. Paul, or Virginia Minnesota – you all deserve a great education,” she said. “We’re here today to fight for that promise.”
Want to get involved? Here’s how you can: