On April 9th, the Early Childhood Coalition hosted a lobby day in Salem. Early Learning Multnomah and others have been down to Salem to talk to legislators many times over the last couple years, but this was by far the biggest turn‐out for a cross‐sector group advocating a full range of investments in early childhood.
Our co‐director, Molly Day, shared some of the highlights from her day:
‐Running into early learning advocates from all across Oregon who made a big commitment of
time and travel to be in Salem for the day.
‐Walking into meetings with legislators alongside Early Childhood Coalition members and every
person in the room was advocating for each other’s programs: community college staff
advocating for child care, early learning hub staff from across the state advocating for Head
Start, and community members advocating for Preschool Promise. The cross‐sector support
and true coalition feel was inspiring.
‐Seeing parents that had been engaged in early learning programs for years feeling inspired to
come down to Salem to advocate and share their experiences.
Showing legislators how much support there is for early learning is so important. We need them
to hear our stories and feel the impact of investing in young children and their families.
The experience also had us reflecting on who wasn’t at lobby day. There were definitely some
parents there who had taken the day off of work or made childcare arrangements to be in
Salem. And it is a lot to ask of families to share their time and heart in this very brief and
structured way. It left us wondering about other ways our policy‐making structures could shift
to create more space and time for ongoing engagement with those they were created to serve.
We were so inspired by the Early Childhood Coalition and the tremendous effort that went into
this lobby day. And we know there is so much work to be done to make sure those furthest
from opportunity are heard.