On March 2, at what was called the “biggest rally at the Capitol so far this year” by Senator Carla Nelson, over 700 children, parents, childcare providers, community leaders, advocates and lawmakers gathered at the State Capitol to support our community’s kids. At the event, the MinneMinds coalition announced its support for a bipartisan early childhood care and education bill.
The event was held to give Minnesota children and advocates an opportunity to meet legislators, celebrate the introduction of SF-1663 and HF1997, and mobilize supporters of the movement to increase access to quality early development and education programs. The event began with a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives reading to the preschoolers in attendance.
According to Senator Nelson, a former teacher, “Scholarships provide a two-generational solution, that’s what we’re looking for here. It closes the achievement gap, it reduces the looming workforce shortage, and helps families break the cycle of poverty.”
Local parent TraNecia Sylvester recounted her positive experience with targeted home visiting, the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and early learning scholarships. “These programs helped in my children’s early development, and allowed me the opportunity to pursue a career I love,” Sylvester said. “Early childhood investments are the most important investments our state can make.”
Sarah Caruso, president and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way, gave closing remarks, thanked legislators for their bipartisan support and encouraged attendees to remain at the capitol, get to know their senators and representatives, and to show their support for early care and education.